Adiyaman, Turkey – In Turkey, there have been almost 38,000 fatalities, compared to about 5,800 in Syria. There will undoubtedly be a large increase in mortality.
The number of fatalities from an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 and its aftershocks that shook the southeast of Turkey near the Syrian border has kept increasing.
Located in the Pazarcik region of the Kahramanmaras province, the first earthquake occurred on Monday at 4:17 a.m. (01:17 GMT). A second 7.6-magnitude earthquake of the same size occurred in the same area in less than 12 hours. Officials warned people not to enter damaged structures because of the risks, as more than 100 aftershocks were registered as a result of the earthquakes.
Which regions were impacted?
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) identified the regions that have been affected so far as Kahramanmaras, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Adana, Adiyaman, Malatya, Osmaniye, Hatay, and Kilis in a statement that was carried by the government-run Anadolu Agency. Turkey has proclaimed a three-month state of emergency in the ten provinces affected by the earthquake.
Thousands of civilians in the Syrian provinces of Aleppo, Idlib, Hama, and Latakia have also been impacted across the border. On the Syrian side, the earthquake-affected regions are split between territories under government control and the final part of the nation still held by the opposition, which is surrounded by government forces with support from Russia.
Number of fatalities from an earthquake
5,800 people have perished in Syria, while at least 38,044 deaths in Turkey have been reported. The number of fatalities is certain to keep growing.
Experts fear that the death toll could dramatically increase as hopes of finding survivors have diminished.
According to Turkish officials, 13.5 million people in a region that stretches around 450 km (280 miles) from Adana in the west to Diyarbakir in the east and 300 km (186 miles) from Malatya in the north to Hatay in the south have been impacted.
International relief amid catastrophe
According to Turkey’s disaster management agency, more than 5500 vehicles, including tractors, cranes, bulldozers, and excavators, would be used in the rescue operation in addition to more than 110,000 rescue workers. According to the foreign ministry, aid has been given by 95 nations.
The odds of locating survivors in the subzero temperatures are dwindling as emergency teams begin to concentrate on dismantling dangerously unstable structures, even though experts suggest trapped people may survive for a week or longer.
Several kilometers have been traveled by volunteers from all across Turkey and Syria to assist the quake victims in any way they can. Others from outside the damaged areas have hurried to provide survivors with food, clothing, and blood donations.
In northwest Syria, where around 4.1 million people need assistance, humanitarian organizations claim that the earthquake has added to the misery of the locals.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ envoy for Syria, Sivanka Dhanapala, “as many as 5.3 million people in Syria may have been made homeless by the earthquake.”
Adnan Hazem, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) spokesperson for Syria, told the related network that “people are traumatized and they feel helpless.”
Satellite photos from before and after offering an indication of the degree of devastation in the towns and cities throughout the Turkish regions affected. You can drag to the right below to observe how Islahiye’s entire buildings have collapsed. Reuters via handout from Maxar Technologies.
100 or more strong aftershocks
Around a hundred aftershocks of magnitude four or higher have struck Turkey since February 6. Smaller earthquakes known as aftershocks are those that happen immediately after a major earthquake in the same geographical location.
Since Monday, there have been at least 81 earthquakes of magnitude 4, 20 of magnitude 5, three of magnitude 6, and two of magnitude 7.
Rescue operations are hindered by the cold
Rescuers are sifting through the wreckage of buildings that were destroyed by the earthquakes while working in subfreezing conditions.
Further inclement weather is anticipated in the area, which will make rescue efforts even more difficult. It has also been challenging to locate survivors and deliver vital relief to affected communities due to collapsed buildings and damaged roadways. Several airports have also been shut down due to earthquake damage.
Outside of the city of Gaziantep, at the epicenter of the earthquake, are millions of Syrian refugees who have fled to Turkey. With subzero temperatures, thousands of citizens are left without shelter.
More than 1.7 million of the 15 million people living in the ten provinces hit by the earthquake are refugees from Syria, according to Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for the UN.
Turkish earthquake since 1999 that was the strongest
Turkey is located in one of the most seismically active regions of the planet. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the nation on Monday is the biggest severe to do so since 1999.
A strong magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck Marmara, a heavily populated area to the south of Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, in August 1999, and it lasted for 45 seconds. The official death toll reached 17,500 within a short period.
Below is a quick list of Turkey’s worst earthquakes over the past 25 years:
August 17, 1999: The İzmit earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.4, killed over 17,000 people and injured over 40,000.
November 12, 1999: The Düzce earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.2, killed over 800 people and injured over 4,000.
March 8, 2010: The Elazığ earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.1, killed over 50 people and injured over 70.
October 23, 2011: The Van earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.1, killed over 600 people and injured over 4,000.
January 24, 2020: The Elazığ earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.8, killed over 40 people and injured over 1,600.
October 30, 2020: The İzmir earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.6, killed over 100 people and injured over 1,000.
May 1, 2003: The Bingöl earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.4, killed over 177 people and injured over 520.
It is important to note that Turkey is located in a seismically active region, and earthquakes are relatively common. The country has implemented a range of measures to reduce the impact of earthquakes, including earthquake-resistant building codes and early warning systems. However, these measures cannot eliminate the risk of earthquakes, and individuals and communities must be prepared for such disasters.