Turkish-Syrian Border Earthquakes Shake Communities

On Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, Turkey experienced two major earthquakes measuring 7.8 and 7.5, respectively. 

The earthquakes have been estimated to have killed 45,000 people. The first earthquake occurred near Gaziantep, close to the Turkish-Syrian border. The second occurred near Ekinözü. 

Turkish President Erdogan expressed that “words are not enough” to describe the calamity. 

The Turkish government has reduced its rescue efforts. Only two people have been successfully rescued this week. 

Since the quakes rippled throughout the country on February 6th, the international community has sent several rescue teams to help assist the Turkish rescue efforts. The UK, US, Italy, France, Israel, Austria, Poland, Greece, South Korea and many other countries sent engineers, firefighters, dogs, and medical specialists. Syria has also received support from the international community. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Turkey on Sunday to tour the damage. After his helicopter tour surveying the damage, Blinken said, “When you see the extent of the damage, the number of buildings, the number of apartments, the number of homes that have been destroyed, it’s going to take a massive effort to rebuild.” 

Blinken promised $100 million in aid on top of the $85 million that President Biden has already announced. 

According to the New York Times, “Reconstruction is expected to cost $10 billion to $50 billion,” although the times noted that the Turkish Enterprise and Business Confederation estimated the damage at $85 billion

Turkey was in a logistical mess, having to bury tens of thousands of dead in a span of a few days. According to the LA Times, the country was forced to use mass graves to keep up with the number of bodies. 

The deaths even reached New York City. While visiting family, one New York family of four died beneath rubble in Elbistan, southern Turkey. A mosque in Sunnyside, Queens, held a memorial service for the family

The country is struggling to rebuild, as another earthquake with a 6.3 magnitude ripped through the country two weeks after the first set. 

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