Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria level cities


Tyler Baker, Copy Editor

On Feb. 6 2023, at 4:17 am, disaster struck in Turkey and Syria. “As of Feb. 24, the death toll in Syria and Turkey had surpassed 49,000,” reports The New York Times. This tragedy has destroyed buildings, displaced millions of people, and has sent the two nations into a state of emergency. 


The various factors of this 7.8 magnitude earthquake have heavily contributed to its deadliness. With the tremors starting so early in the morning, many were asleep. To make matters worse, a powerful 7.5 magnitude aftershock followed the initial earthquake, destroying already unstable buildings further and causing significantly more damage. 


Turkey and Syria are surrounded by major fault lines, the North Anatolian Fault and East Anatolian Fault. Geologically, fault lines connect shifting plates of the Earth’s crust, therefore these locations have become earthquake hot-spots. The proximity of these nations to the fault lines is why the magnitude is so strongly felt and devastating. 


On top of all this, there’s another major issue. “Many of the buildings in Turkey appear to be extremely vulnerable,” says CBC. This issue has brought structural integrity to the forefront of many nation’s minds, with geologists warning other countries like Istanbul that what happened in Turkey and Syria is inevitable if changes aren’t made to structurally prepare for devastatingly high magnitude earthquakes. 


In the face of this tragedy, Turkey has declared a national emergency lasting 3 months. At this time, “The United Nations’ secretary general, António Guterres, has announced the launch of a $397 million humanitarian appeal for Syria over three months,” The New York Times explains. This help, though, has been difficult to give, as the country is currently in the face of a civil war. 


Despite the challenges, however, many miraculous rescues have been reported throughout the month. Three weeks after the disaster, a dog was rescued from the rubble of a building in Turkey. According to CBS, “Teams from a local municipality in central Turkey saved Aleks the dog on Wednesday and delivered him to Haytap, a Turkish animal protection association in the city of Antakya.” Aleks was reportedly found in good health.


 As rescuers continue to recover more people and pets from the rubble, communities are forced to adapt to flattened cities, the loss of loved ones, and the loss of homes.