Tragedy in Turkey

Earthquake strikes the Turkey Syrian border

On Monday February 6, 2023, the first of two quakes struck the southeast corner of the Turkey/Syrian border followed by aftershocks on February 20 and 27. With the current death toll at 50,000 and over $34.2 billion in damages, communities in Turkey and Syria work towards rebuilding and repairing after such a tragedy.
The most destructive of the quakes was measured at a 7.8 in magnitude scale, meaning the quake was felt across a large distance with significant damage. Being Turkey’s first major earthquake in the last 200 years, it has rocked the world and is the strongest earthquake in Turkey history. On Monday, the recorded death toll tallied at 35,000 and continued rising as the rescue workers arrived on sites to save as many people as possible. Some deaths will forever remain uncounted as people buried their dead without taking them to the hospital.
The lack of enforced building codes and inadequate construction made the earthquake more dangerous than it should have been. “The [earthquake] resistant infrastructure is unfortunately patchy in South Turkey and especially Syria,” said risk-communication specialist Dr. Carmen Solana to the BBC. Turkey has arrested almost 200 people that were suspects of not following construction regulations, after over 100,000 buildings collapsed in the quake. Many of the buildings’ deficient foundations caused the buildings to fall in a pancake effect, which resulted in widespread destruction and made it more difficult to rescue civilians. Small-scaled errors in design or overlooked inspections can change the amount of collapsed buildings and the ability to rescue people. Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad has been accused of exploiting the tragedy in order to gain international aid in the midst of Syria’s civil war.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution mourning the deaths of the many citizens that passed away and awarded the heroic effort of the healthcare and rescue workers. Many citizens have also been mourning in their own way. Thousands of stuffed animals were thrown on the field at a Besiktas soccer game in Turkey to honor the many children that had passed. Fundraisers all around the world have been established to contribute to repair the many damages.
Despite aid to the region in the immediate aftermath, over a million people are still homeless and awaiting help. Thousands of people whose homes have been destroyed must rely on humanitarian aid to survive. With millions of tons in rubble it will be many years before Turkey and Syria can rebuild and repair the damage of the disaster.