Written by Ella Rowe
Edited by Annika Lilja
Starting on February, 6th, 2023, numerous earthquakes hit the southeast region of Turkey, as well as the area near the Syrian border. Following this disaster, many additional aftershocks hit the region. The first earthquake was the most severe, classified as a 7.8/10 on the Richter Scale, and spanned over 11 miles deep, making it one of the most detrimental earthquakes in the last 200 years. In comparison, the largest earthquake ever recorded was one in Chile in 1960 which measured as a 9.5-level earthquake. This recent disaster has resulted in about 62 miles of fault line, which has led to the damaging of property and the harming of civilians who were near it.
According to Dr. Carmen Solana, many buildings and other infrastructures in this region weren’t very steady, broadening this issue and often impacting those who were in their homes at the time of the incidents. She also notes that 48 hours after an earthquake, the number of survivors dramatically decreases, and the lives of the victims are in the first responder's hands.
To understand what exactly caused this string of earthquakes, we must first understand the making of the earth. The earth is made up of tectonic plates that often try to move, but are restricted by friction. In this case, it was two large plates that rubbed against one another and caused a large earthquake, as well as many aftershocks.
With over 87,000 injuries and 47,000 demolished properties, this earthquake is one the most devastating in history. As of February 21st, 2023, the death toll has reached 47,000 people and still continues to rise (World Vision). Beyond that number, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. At this point, large search teams are shifting from looking for survivors to recovery efforts.
According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 26 million people still need assistance over the span of both Turkey and Syria. As a result, a short three days after the initial earthquake, six United Nations convoy trucks carrying essential items (food, water, cleaning supplies, etc.) crossed into the region. Since then, an additional 120 trucks have entered the area to aid with the repercussions of the disaster.
Though an atrocious catastrophe, Syrian civilians are still looking for ways to find slivers of joy. The rescue of 8-year-old Yigit, as well as 17-year-old Aleyna after 248 hours led to crowds of cheers and celebrations. If you are looking to help in any way, there are many organizations looking for donations, and remember to keep Turkish and Syrian civilians in your thoughts or prayers.
Ghosh, Pallab. “Turkey Earthquake: Where Did It Hit and Why Was It so Deadly?” BBC News, 6 February 2023, www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-64540696.
Omer, Sevil. "2023 Turkey and Syria earthquake: Facts, faqs, and how to help." World Vision, 21 February 2023, https://www.worldvision.org/disaster-relief-news-stories/2023-turkey-and-syria-earthquake-faqs.