Monday morning was a tragic one for the citizens of Turkey and Syria, when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook the region and caused multiple buildings to collapse. Initial reports have confirmed at least 10 deaths in Turkey, while in Syria the situation has been described as “disastrous” with people trapped under rubble. The quake was centered near Gaziantep in Turkey and 11 miles deep, followed by a 6.7 aftershock 10 minutes later.
In Turkey, the Disaster and Emergency Management agency (AFAD) reported the quake was measured at 7.4 and was centered in Pazarcik, in Kahramanmaras province. In Sanliurfa, at least 10 deaths have been confirmed according to Governor Salih Ayhan. The temblor was also felt in Lebanon and Syria, where state media reported that some buildings collapsed in the northern city of Aleppo and the central city of Hama. In Syria’s rebel-held northwest, the opposition’s Syrian Civil Defense reported that entire buildings had collapsed.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the country’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority was ready to respond to requests for rescue and other forms of aid. Aftershocks continued to rumble throughout the day, with the USGS recording subsequent temblors of magnitude 5.6, 5.1, and 5.2, in that order.
Turkey sits on top of major fault lines and is frequently shaken by earthquakes. The recorded history of earthquakes in the region goes back hundreds of years, with the last big shaker in the region taking place on Jan. 24, 2020 and measuring 6.7. Nearby Aleppo, Syria was struck by what experts estimate was a magnitude 7.1 earthquake in 1138, and a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the same area of Syria in 1822.
Monday’s tragedy is a stark reminder of the seismic activity in the region, and the devastating consequences of earthquakes. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, and we hope for a speedy recovery.