The Death Toll Rises: 1,900 Dead After Powerful Earthquake Strikes Turkey-Syria Border
The world was rocked by tragedy this week as a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the Turkish-Syrian border, leaving a death toll of 1,900 and rising. As rescue crews race to find survivors, the devastation of the quake is becoming more and more apparent. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the destruction, the response from world leaders, and the hope that remains in the face of such a tragedy.
A Devastating Earthquake
The earthquake struck at 4:17 a.m. local time and was followed by over 78 aftershocks, according to the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority. In Turkey, student Muhammet Fatih Yavus said three buildings fell near his home in Adana and he heard one survivor calling out from beneath the rubble “I don’t have the strength anymore.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said more than 1,000 people were killed and at least 5,300 injured in his country alone. In Syria, the death toll in government-held areas surpassed 430, and 1,000 were injured, the Syrian Health Ministry reported. In rebel-held areas, more than 380 people were killed, according to Syrian Civil Defense – the White Helmets.
The Earthquake’s Aftermath
The quake struck a region that has been battered on both sides of the border by more than a decade of civil war in Syria. On the Syrian side, the region is divided between government-held territory and the country’s last opposition-held enclave, which is surrounded by Russian-backed government forces. In Turkey, thousands of buildings were reported collapsed from the Syrian cities of Aleppo and Hama to Turkey’s Diyarbakir, more than 200 miles to the northeast. Erdogan said he spoke with several mayors who reported almost 3,000 buildings had collapsed. About 2,500 people were pulled from the rubble, he said. Schools across much of the country will be closed for at least one week, and schools closer to the quake for two weeks, officials said.
World Leaders Offer Support
The Biden administration issued a statement expressing concern, adding that “we stand ready to provide any and all needed assistance.” President Joe Biden has directed USAID and other federal government agencies to “assess U.S. response options to help those most affected,” coordinating efforts with the Turkish government. European Council President Charles Michel said on Twitter, “Deeply saddened to hear this morning about the devastating earthquake hitting parts of Türkiye and Syria. My deepest condolences to the many families that lost lives and wishing a fast recovery of the injured. The EU stands in full solidarity with you.” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tweeted: “My thoughts are with the people of Türkiye and Syria this morning, particularly with those first responders working so valiantly to save those trapped by the earthquake. The UK stands ready to help in whatever way we can.”
Turkey Creates an ‘Air Aid Corridor’
National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said a large number of military transport planes began to dispatch search and rescue teams and vehicles to the region. Ambulance planes also take part in the “air aid corridor,” Akar said. “We have maximized the readiness of our aircraft to provide the necessary transportation service,” he said.
Hope in the Face of Tragedy
The death toll from the earthquake is expected to rise as rescue workers dig through the wreckage. Thousands of survivors are left homeless in the cold rain and snow. Despite the tragedy, world leaders have come together to offer support and aid to those affected by the earthquake. With the help of international aid, the survivors of this devastating earthquake will be able to rebuild and recover.