Devastating Earthquake in Turkey leaves over 4,300 dead

A “worst-case scenario” quake tears through Turkey and Syria destroying both sides of the borders.

Nathan Montoya, Editor of News


One of the strongest earthquakes since 1939 hit the region and shook residents around 4 am on Monday, with tremors reaching as far as Lebanon and Israel. According to Turkey’s head of disaster services, Yunus Sezer, at least 2,921 people were killed and more than 15,800 injured in Turkey. Within neighboring Syria, at least 1,451 people have died and in the regions of Aleppo, Hama, Latakia, and Tartus, 711 people have passed according to the Syrian State News Agency, SANA. 

The USGS (United States Geological Survey) said that the epicenter of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake was 23 km east of Nurdagi, a district, and city of Gaziantep Province of Turkey, and reached a depth of 24.1 km. A series of aftershocks continued throughout the day, with the largest major quake measuring 7.5 in magnitude, which hit Turkey about 9 hours after the initial earthquake. That aftershock hit an area around 95 km north of the origin. Videos and photos from the scene in Turkey showed daylight breaking over rows of collapsed buildings, some with apartments exposed to the elements as people huddled together in the cold, waiting for help. A host of countries have sent rescue workers to assist in the rescue of the injured, however, a cold and wet weather system is moving through the region, making it much more difficult for the already challenging rescue attempts. 

The situation in Syria is not much better, with more than 4 million people relying on humanitarian assistance in northwest Syria. The majority of these people are women and children. On top of the catastrophic earthquake, Syrian communities are already dealing with an ongoing cholera outbreak amid a harsh winter with heavy rain and snow over the weekend. 


UPDATE: As of February 13, 2023, the death toll in Turkey and Syria has totaled over 36,000 as only a small number of survivors were pulled from the rubble more than a week after the initial earthquakes. Individually, Turkey’s disaster agency said that more than 31,500 had been recorded killed, while the Syrian Health Ministry reported 1,400 deaths and the White Helmets, a volunteer rescue group in the rebel-held regions of Syria, reported another 2,100 deaths. The death toll is still expected to climb.