Lethal earthquake causes mass destruction in Turkey and Syria


Photo courtesy of EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Homes are destroyed, and rescue workers search through piles of rubble in their attempts to find as many survivors as possible.

A disastrous earthquake hit Turkey and Syria on Feb. 6, resulting in a death toll of over 40,000 only seven days later, causing great destruction in both countries and leaving many hopeless.

The initial earthquake arrived with a magnitude of 7.8, one of the deadliest since 2000, according to a Feb. 9 New York Times article. The earthquake was reported to be felt as far away as Israel and Lebanon. Buildings collapsed and communities were destroyed, causing devastation in both countries. In Turkey, over 238,000 Turkish and international rescue workers provided aid and located the survivors and casualties. Rescuers try their hardest to find any indication of life in the rubble. 

The death toll in Turkey is at least 35,000 and over 5,000 in Syria, according to a Feb. 14 New York Times article. The earthquake happened in the early morning, so most people were still in their homes. The winter weather is resulting in difficulty for the rescuers to reach the affected area. Both of these factors have caused a high death toll and injured many people.

Dozens of countries offered aid to Turkey, raising hope. However, there was very little hope in Syria from the small support they were getting. This is a result of years of civil war according to a Feb. 9 report from New York Times. Since Turkey is a NATO country and Syria isn’t, the distribution of aid from other nations has been skewed in Turkey’s favor.  

“I think foreign assistance helps bring the world together and promotes goodwill in these tough times,” history teacher Gary Colucci said. “The UN and individual nations should share resources to help.”

A small amount of hope has briefly risen in Turkey and Syria from at least 41 people being rescued between the 141st and 163rd hours since the earthquake hit. As a result of the earthquake, a new issue has arisen. Hundreds of thousands are left homeless and are facing the freezing cold, hunger and devastation. 

“The videos and pictures of the damage are devastating to see,” Colucci said. “I think it will be a long road to recovery, but I hope those affected are able to rebuild their communities, businesses and lives.” 

Photo credit: EU’s response to the earthquake in Türkiye and Syria by EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid is licensed under (CC BY-ND 2.0).