The world is aghast at the human suffering caused by the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday pre-dawn. As the death toll continues to climb, rescuers are desperately searching for survivors in the rubble. This blog post will provide a summary of the tragedy, the response from the international community, and the desperate situation of those affected by the quake.

The quake, centered in Turkey’s southeastern province of Kahramanmaras, sent shockwaves across the region, from Damascus to Beirut and as far away as Cairo. The death toll in Turkey alone has already reached 4,000, with more than 5,600 buildings destroyed. In Syria, 656 people have died and hundreds are injured in government-held areas, and in the rebel-held enclave, hundreds of families remain trapped in rubble.

In response to the tragedy, offers of help have poured in from dozens of countries, as well as the European Union and NATO. The U.S. is sending search-and-rescue teams to support Turkey’s efforts, and the U.N. has been assisting 2.7 million people each month via cross-border deliveries.

The survivors of the quake are facing a night in the cold, and the bitter temperatures could reduce the time frame that rescuers have to save trapped survivors. The difficulty of working in areas beset by civil war further complicates rescue efforts. In the small Syrian rebel-held town of Azmarin, the bodies of several dead children were brought to a hospital. In Turkey, hospitals were damaged and one collapsed in the city of Iskenderun.

The tragedy of this earthquake is heartbreaking, and it is a stark reminder of the human suffering caused by natural disasters, civil war, and refugee crises. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, and we hope that the international community can come together to provide help and support to those affected.