The tragic loss of over 600 lives occurred across two countries due to a devastating earthquake that struck the region. The earthquake was measured as one of the strongest in Turkish history, with a magnitude of 7.8 and originating from a depth of 24.1 km east of Nurdagi in Gaziantep province. The quake occurred in the early hours of Monday local time and was felt in neighboring countries, including Syria and Lebanon. The United States Geological Survey reported that the earthquake’s epicenter was 23 km east of Nurdagi, a city on the Turkey-Syria border.
Rescue teams are working tirelessly to locate individuals trapped beneath debris on both sides of the Turkey-Syria border. The number of fatalities has surpassed 1500 after the 7.8-magnitude quake struck early Monday around 4 am, causing widespread devastation & injuring thousands pic.twitter.com/5fQzxInX7o
— News Live (@NewsLiveFree) February 6, 2023
The civil war in Syria started in 2011 and has been affecting a large portion of northwestern Syria near the Turkish border, which is controlled by anti-government forces. The toll of the disaster in Turkey stands at 284 deaths and over 2,300 injured, as reported by the country’s Vice President, Fuat Oktay. Meanwhile, a Ministry of Health official cited,” SANA, the Syrian state news agency, at least 250 people died, and more than 650 were injured in various cities including Aleppo, Latakia, Hama, and Tartus. The “White Helmets,” a humanitarian organization formed for rescuing individuals injured in conflicts, reported that many people are still trapped beneath the rubble.
Historic Earthquake Rocks Turkey with Devastating Impact
The earthquake struck early on Monday, when most people were asleep, leaving them unprepared for its effects. Footage from Turkey shared on social media showed numerous collapsed buildings and frightened citizens gathered on the streets amidst the confusion. The rescue workers were seen carrying out search-and-rescue missions with the help of flashlights.
According to the United States Geological Survey, this earthquake is considered the strongest to hit Turkey since 1939, when a quake with the same magnitude resulted in the loss of 30,000 lives. Quakes of such magnitude are rare, with only a few being reported on average globally each year. In the past 25 years, Turkey has experienced seven earthquakes of 7.0 or higher. However, Monday’s quake was the most intense of all.
Karl Lang, an assistant professor at Georgia Tech University’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, spoke with CNN regarding the earthquake. Lang stated that the region affected by the earthquake on Monday is prone to seismic activity. He added that it was a large fault zone but that the recent earthquake was larger than any recent seismic event in the area. Strong aftershocks have been felt throughout central and southern Turkey. Just 11 minutes after the main quake, a 6.7 magnitude aftershock struck 20 miles northwest of the epicenter. Nineteen minutes later, another intense aftershock with a magnitude of 5.6 was reported.