Earthquakes Devastate Syria and Turkey

Cate Russo, Reporter

On February 6, 2023, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southeast Turkey and northwest Syria. Exactly two weeks later, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey once again. As of February 24, the death toll has officially passed 49,000 individuals within the stricken area.

The situation is incredibly demanding of the globe’s attention, as the United Nations Children Fund has stated that 4.6 million children living in Turkey and 2.5 million children living in Syria have been affected. 

The affected areas of Turkey and Syria have been experiencing internal conflict for years, such as Syria’s refugee crisis and civil war, and the earthquake has greatly worsened the country’s conditions as one of the worst natural disasters the world has seen in years. Furthermore, as stated by Johan Mooij, director of World Vision’s Syria crisis response, “This earthquake has created the perfect environment for a health crisis — fueled by reduced healthcare capacity and disease outbreaks.”

There has been an international effort to support Syria, specifically by the UN. In an attempt to allow the UN to deliver humanitarian relief to northwest Syria through new border crossings from Turkey, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad agreed to cooperate in “opening opposition-held territory,” which has not happened since 2011. However, even with such relief efforts, it has unfortunately been reported that because the international community did not react fast enough to the tragic disaster, “local rescue teams had managed to search only 5 percent of the affected areas” and therefore rescue efforts were not nearly as successful.