A massive tremor struck Turkey and northwest Syria on Monday, causing widespread devastation and taking the lives of over 3,700 individuals. In real-time, the negative impacts of this are still playing out.
The harsh winter weather conditions only exacerbate the suffering of those who were injured or lost their homes. This makes it even more difficult for rescue teams to locate any potential survivors.
Massive Earthquake Collapsed Countless Buildings
The massive quake, registering a magnitude of 7.8, wreaked havoc across Turkish cities and northwest Syria. This caused the collapse of countless apartment buildings and aggravated the already dire situation for millions of war-displaced Syrians.
The earthquake struck during the early hours of the morning. It was compounded by another significant aftershock in the afternoon, making the situation even direr in the challenging winter weather.
In the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, a woman spoke near the remains of her seven-story apartment building.
She emotionally recounted out the harrowing experience of being violently jolted, saying, “We were shaken like a cradle. There were nine of us in the home at the time and unfortunately, two of my sons are still buried in the debris. I stand here waiting for their return.”
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan declared a state of emergency in 10 provinces devastated by 2 #earthquakes that killed more than 5,100 people & left a trail of destruction across a wide area of southern #Turkey & neighbouring Syria:https://t.co/CO1btK9usd pic.twitter.com/UyaQAfYPVw
— Ann Kae (@KarlieVoisin) February 7, 2023
“It was like the end of the world,” recounted out Abdul Salam al-Mahmoud, a resident of Atareb in northern Syria. “With the harsh cold and relentless rain, there are still people in need of rescue.”
The magnitude of the earthquake was the largest recorded globally by the USGS since the South Atlantic quake of August 2021.
Catastrophic Event Exacerbated by Frigid Winter Weather
The earthquake was one of the most devastating in recent Turkish history, with a toll of 2,316 lives lost, according to the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).
This earthquake had a devastating impact near Istanbul and claimed the lives of over 17,000 people.
The lack of stable internet connections and disrupted roadways between the cities hardest hit in Turkey’s southern regions, where millions reside, made it challenging for authorities to fully comprehend and respond to the disaster’s effects.
This video broke my heart 💔
The little girl says to the rescuer when he reaches her: Get me out from under this wreckage,sir,me and my sister, and I will become your slave.#earthquakeinturkey #Syria #هزه_ارضيه #زلزال #İstanbul #earthquake #Turkey #PrayForTurkey pic.twitter.com/U9mMrZdROM
— Zuher Almosa (@AlmosaZuher) February 7, 2023
The earthquake’s toll was exacerbated by the frigid winter weather, with temperatures forecasted to drop close to freezing in some regions.
The already challenging situation was compounded by rain that fell on Monday after a weekend of snowstorms. The disaster resulted in over 13,000 injured in Turkey alone.
In Iskenderun, Turkey, rescuers scoured the massive pile of rubble that used to be a hospital’s intensive care unit in a desperate search for survivors. Health workers were faced with an overwhelming influx of injured patients and did their best to provide care.
President Erdogan of Turkey, facing a challenging election in May, described the earthquake as a catastrophic event in the nation’s history, surpassing even the earthquakes of 1939.