A 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Turkey and Syria on Monday, February 10. The shake happened because of friction between the Arabian and Anatolian plates. Rescue and aid efforts are ongoing as aftershocks continue in the devastated areas.
There were two big quakes in the southeastern region of Turkey in the early hours of Monday. The first tremor happened near the town of Gaziantep, which was almost at the Turkey-Syria border. A few aftershocks followed, including another 7.5 magnitudes shaking farther north near Ekinözü.
Because the Arabian plate and the Anatolian plate were the cause of the quake, the tremors also affected northern Syria. Equally devastating damages happened in both countries.
Experts say the region where the earthquake occurred has not had any big shakes for about two hundred years. And the last quake there was not as damaging as this recent one. Historical data reports that the previous earthquakes had aftershocks that lasted almost a year.
Syria, in the news, is a war-torn country, but now it is being reported for a different reason. Massive damage to infrastructure, tall buildings crumpled, and many citizens trapped under the rubble greeted the rescuers who came to aid the regions. Rescue efforts started almost immediately after the quake and have gone on since then.
Most rescued victims were found a few hours after the devastation, but as with other disasters, the more time passes, the lesser the chances of survival for the victims. Some notable rescues include a mother and her newborn baby, and a seven-year-old and his toddler brother who was found more than 100 hours after the event.
The first tremor was felt at around four in the morning when everyone was in bed, sleeping. Aftershocks followed and lasted for a few days. The time of the quake was a determining factor in the casualty count. Because it was so early, there were so many who weren’t able to escape the eventual destruction of buildings and other infrastructure.
Recent reports say there are 22,000 recorded casualties from both Turkey and Syria. Many more were wounded, and the devastation on infrastructure was massive.
The leaders of both countries have visited their respective regions ravaged by the earthquake today. The United Nations have also sent aid trucks full of supplies to the affected areas.
Other countries have also started their aid initiatives. The World Bank promised about $1.78 billion as an aid to the victims.
The United States has also pledged $85 million as urgent humanitarian aid for both Turkey and Syria. Efforts from the United States were led by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. The U.S. Treasury is also overriding current sanctions against the Syrian government to allow any aid effort to be given to the Syrian victims.
People and countries all over the world have stepped up and volunteered in some kind of relief operations for the ravaged areas. International organizations are also doing their best to help the victims.