Death toll crosses 4,300 after 3 earthquakes in Turkey, Syria
Three consecutive earthquakes on Monday wreaked havoc in Turkey and Syria, with the death toll reportedly crossing the 4,300 mark on Tuesday. Thousands have been injured, and rescue operations are struggling amid rains coupled with near-freezing temperatures at night. India, along with several other nations, is coordinating with the Turkish government to send medical and rescue teams along with relief materials for aid.
Why does this story matter?
- A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.8 on the Richter scale struck southeastern Turkey in the wee hours of Monday, sending strong tremors to neighboring Syria.
- Within less than 12 hours of the jolt, another quake of 7.6-magnitude struck, followed by one measuring 6.0.
- Notably, Turkey sits on three major tectonic plates—African, Arabian, and Eurasian—which is one of the world's most active earthquake zones.
Death toll still expected to rise
The number of deaths reported in Turkey was 2,921, while 15,834 were injured. In Syria, 1,451 people lost their lives, and 3,531 were injured. The death toll is likely to rise further, as the first tremor struck in the early hours when most people were asleep. Thousands of buildings collapsed in both countries, while other structures have also become vulnerable.
Rescue teams still trying to clear rubble
"There is a family I know under the rubble. Until 11:00 am or noon, my friend was still answering the phone. But she no longer answers. She is down there. I think her battery ran out"— AFP News Agency (@AFP) February 7, 2023
Freezing rain, silent phones and anguish in Turkey quakehttps://t.co/sB9q91x8wJ pic.twitter.com/m34vkGJ7x2
Erdogan declares 7-day mourning for victims
Following the multiple quakes, poor internet connectivity and damaged roads have made rescue operations more difficult. Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared a seven-day mourning for the victims. Meanwhile, Russia said its 300 military personnel deployed in Syria were assisting with rescue operations. Over 10 search and rescue teams have been sent to Turkey from the European Commission (EU), too.
NDRF teams, dog squads, drilling machines sent from India
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) search and rescue teams, trained dog squads, medical supplies, drilling machines, and other equipment from India left for Turkey on Tuesday morning. This aid was dispatched hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended a helping hand to the jolted nation and promised all possible assistance. Notably, in 1999, a deadly earthquake rocked northwest Turkey, killing over 17,000 people.
More than 100 aftershocks dealt to Turkey
According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), more than 100 aftershocks over the magnitude of 4 have reportedly been recorded since the first earthquake. This series of earthquakes is said to be the deadliest in nearly a century. There is a rupture of more than 100km between the Turkish/Anatolian and Arabian plates. The Anatolian plate is split into three major fault zones.