Earthquake Shakes Turkey


Elizabeth Whitman

On the morning of February 6th, 2023, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 hit Turkey and Syria. Its epicenter was the Turkish city of Gaziantep. Numerous aftershocks took place 

hours later, including a 7.5 magnitude aftershock north of Gaziantep. Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, and Jordan also experienced tremors from the earthquake. This was one of the strongest earthquakes that has hit Turkey since 1939. This earthquake was particularly deadly because it happened so early in the morning when people were still sleeping, trapping them in their homes. Also, the weather in Turkey has been very cold, rainy, and snowy. So, hypothermia is a risk for the people trapped in rubble. In a perfect world, people can survive in rubble for weeks. However, in reality, very few people can survive for more than 72 hours because of injuries, freezing temperatures, and/or lack of food and water. 46000 people in Turkey and Syria have died. More than 5700 buildings in Turkey collapsed due to the earthquake. While Turkey has modern building codes today that require buildings to be able to withstand the earthquake, older buildings in the country do not have the same up to date standards. So, those buildings were more vulnerable during the earthquake and ended up collapsing. For the last ten years, Syrians have been displaced from their homes due to violence, floods, or other reasons. So, many Syrians have gone to Turkey, straining Turkey’s resources. The earthquake also affected these people because it hit the border between Syria and Turkey, where many Syrian refugees live. Two weeks after the earthquake, most of the rescue efforts are ending, even though some people are still missing. Now, it is no longer about search and rescue, they need to focus on how they are going to recover from this horrific event.