Another Earthquake Hits Turkey and Syria, Increasing Need for Aid
Donate to help recovery efforts in Turkey & Syria
Updated February 21st, 2023
- Another earthquake hit southern Turkey and northwestern Syria on Monday, only two weeks after the devastating earthquake claimed 46,000 lives. The most recent quake was measured at 6.4 magnitude and centered in one of the areas most profoundly impacted by the Feb. 6 disaster.
- Turkey's interior minister Suleyman Soylu said at least three people died and 213 were injured. However, local officials say more are trapped underneath the rubble.
- In Syria, the White Helmets said at least 150 were injured with no confirmed deaths so far.
Updated February 15th, 2023
- Turkish authorities launched an investigation into the contractors linked to the buildings that collapsed after the earthquake.
- Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdog told reporters that 134 people who had roles in the construction of the buildings are being investigated since the structures could not withstand the quakes. The country's Environmental Minister Murat Kurum estimated that around 25,000 buildings collapsed or were heavily damaged.
- Construction codes in Turkey do not meet the current engineering standards for earthquakes.
- In the past week, multiple contractors have been arrested for attempting to flee the country. Vice President Fuat Oktay said:
"We will follow this up meticulously until the necessary judicial process is concluded, especially for buildings that suffered heavy damage and buildings that caused deaths and injuries."
Updated February 13th, 2023
- The death toll from last Monday's earthquake has surpassed 36,000, making it the fifth deadliest earthquake in the 21st century.
- While aid efforts have grown immensely in the last week, Turkey and Syria still need resources and donations. A top United Nations aid official said:
"I am encouraged by the scale-up of convoys from the UN transshipment center at the Turkish border. We need to open more access points and get more aid out fast."
- As more than one million people are left homeless, a shortage of tents and medical supplies makes for dangerous conditions for injured survivors stuck in extremely cold conditions outdoors.
- Experts are emphasizing the importance of donating to organizations, non-profits, or local organizations with an established presence in the affected areas. Even a small donation of $5 or $10 can help.
Updated February 9th, 2023
- The Turkish government has fallen under heavy criticism as the death toll of Monday’s earthquake surpasses 20,000 and more than 380,000 people are left without homes.
- Many are calling out President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for lack of preparation and a slow response to the disaster. Soli Ozel, lecturer at Kadir Has University in Istanbul, said:
“The government was just not prepared.”
- Ozel also pointed out the national funds that were meant for tragedies like this that were instead spent on highway construction. He continued:
“To make matters worse, if that were even possible, the government is also making it almost impossible for other organizations, civil society, citizens themselves and mayors and municipalities to actually help.”
- After a catastrophic earthquake in 1999, an earthquake tax was imposed to gather billions of dollars for disaster relief. Today, survivors are not seeing those funds.
- Erdogan has restricted how individual cities and aid organizations can operate in Turkey, impeding rescue efforts all over the country. As the severity of the disaster continues to unfold, victims and survivors are in need of aid. Before you donate, check to ensure your chosen organization has a good track record with Charity Navigator and CharityWatch.
Updated February 8, 2023
- The death toll in Turkey and Syria has reached over 11,200. The widespread destruction of infrastructure and the cold weather continues to hinder the search and rescue process.
- Syrian state media reported nearly 300,000 people were displaced due to the earthquake. The state news agency Sana said 180 shelters were opened for displaced people.
Updated 11am EST, February 7, 2023
- Thousands of rescuers continue to dig through debris in freezing temperatures in Turkey and Syria. The death toll has grown to 5,500 and is expected to rise even more. More than 8,000 people have been rescued from underneath the wreckage, said Vice President Fuat Oktay of Turkey.
- President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey declared a three-month state of emergency.
- Rescue efforts in Syria are much more complicated due to the earthquake's location. The only crossing between the two countries is closed from the damage, making it difficult for Syria to receive direct aid.
- The region is already facing a refugee crisis from Syria's decade-long civil war. The World Health Organization warned that the number of refugees could increase by the thousands.
Updated 5pm EST, February 6, 2023
- The death toll on Monday night in Turkey and Syria has risen to 3,400. The World Health Organization warns that the toll could increase eight-fold.
- Seismologists said the first earthquake lasted two minutes and was the largest ever recorded in Turkey. Officials from Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority said the second quake of 7.5 magnitude was a separate earthquake and not an aftershock — while those are still being felt. Officials fear that the aftershocks will cause more buildings to collapse.
- WHO's senior emergency officer for Europe, Catherine Smallwood, said the winter conditions will leave many without shelter, only making matters worse.
- UN Secretary General António Guterres is calling for an international response, and the Turkish Red Crescent is asking citizens to donate blood.
What’s the story?
- Early Monday morning, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit southeastern Turkey and northern Syria. More than 2,300 people have been killed.
- Turkey has reported at least 120 aftershocks, with the strongest hitting approximately nine hours after the first quake with a magnitude of 7.5.
- Rescuers are working to find people trapped under rubble after 2,800 buildings collapsed. Hundreds of families could still be trapped.
- Those who did manage to flee the falling buildings were met with harsh winter storm conditions. The rain and snow that fell overnight are making it more difficult for emergency responders to reach survivors. More than a dozen provinces in eastern Turkey are under weather warnings, with temperatures around 5 to 8 degrees Celsius below the region’s average.
- According to the U.S. Geological Survey, this is one of the strongest earthquakes to hit the region in more than 100 years.
- Turkey’s disaster agency is asking for help from the international community, sending a formal request to NATO for assistance. Numerous nations have begun sending resources and aid, including search and rescue personnel.
- The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement:
“We extend our condolences to the families of those affected and are assessing our comprehensive response options. I have directed my team to remain in close contact with our Turkish allies and our humanitarian partners in the coming days to determine what the region needs.”
How you can help
- Donate to Doctors Without Borders, an independent international organization providing medical assistance to people in Turkey and Syria impacted by the earthquake.
- Donate to the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, a Turkish nonprofit providing relief throughout areas of war, natural disasters, and conflict.
- Donate to the Turkish Red Crescent, part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent, mobilizing across the country.
- Donate to the Syrian American Medical Society, providing urgent medical care. Donate through their website or by texting EarthquakeSyria to 71777.
- The International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation released a public appeal, saying it urgently needs resources and supplies. Learn more and donate here.
- Donate to CARE International, an organization responding to areas in northwest Syria.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
(Photo credit: Twitter/@mufti_william)
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This location is built on a major fault line I don't know if you could ever build anything that can with stand that kind of movement, but corruption contractors and government officials don't help.
Hate to say this of a NATO partner, and I may be a bit cruel, but between KARMA and Mother Nature (ie. earthquakes), Erdogan's authoritarian/totalitarian moves against 'democracy' and his stance against particularly Sweden, but also Finland's desire to join NATO, may be coming back to bite him him in the ass ...
Turkey already new they had a problem of corruption over five years ago, Russia Middle East, China, Asia and more has the same problem. This it what happens when you get rid laws, rule, regulations and accountability all the way to the top, no one is accountable, all you have is corruption!
The aid situation in Turkey and Syria is an excellent example of how foreign aid is handled under an authoritarian regime. All of the aid coming into the area is funneled through Turkey and Erdogan's government decides where the money goes, which means Syrian areas have gotten little or nothing in the way of assistance. Erdogan has also funneled almost all previous funding for building construction into his own pocket with the result being buildings that were not able to withstand the forces of the earthquake. Major bottlenecks in Turkey continue to interfere with the distribution of aid to those most in need of it. Erdogan has also changed the government structure and the Constitution so he does not have to worry about getting voted out, nor having any of the courts rule against him - he has been able to implement the playbook designed by Trump, Leonard Leo, and Bill Bahr quite exquisitely.
We're hearing more and more how the Erdogan government swore it would take better care of Turkiye after an earthquake in 1999, only to find out when it actually happened they had no agencies available for search and rescue and aid, and the "earthquake relief fund" is empty.
I hope there's accountability for Erdogan once this clean up effort has settled. The loss of life and property is unacceptable in country that knows it's on a fault line.
Syria is another story, tragically. Their dictator doesn't care about human life, especially in this region that's full of rebels. We must do what we can to help them.
I wouldn't wish a severe earthquake on anyone, because it's the gift that keeps on giving. The renewed trauma of the aftershocks, that happen on the regular, are awful.
I do have to admit the very first thing that crossed my mind was the Armenian genocide. Then my thoughts turned to the everyday people that are not responsible for the awful deeds of evil leaders. Though I do take umbrage that Türkiye has not taken responsibility for the genocide to this day. If you haven't done a deep dive on the Armenia that once was, its amazing history.
Building on what DaveS said:
1. Rebuilding must account for being near fault lines.
2. Relocation must be away from fault lines.
Also, it's no coincidence that the Turkish government was mostly absent from rescue operations.
Hopefully, Turkey will purge itself of its current corrupt government?
A lot of building in the Middle East were built by corrupt contractors, taking shortcuts on building supplies. It was a couple years ago it was in the news.
It's important to choose charities with existing operations in the area like the UN (UNHRC, UNICEF, etc) as it's a difficult to navigate region complicated by the politics of Syria (Assad) & Russia (Putin) not wanting to allow charities to operate in the region where Syria refugees are being helped. Many governments are are sending search and rescue teams.
"The United Nations Security Council unanimously renewed a vital cross-border aid operation Monday for another six months, extending a lifeline to millions of Syrians residing in areas outside government control during winter. But there were calls for the council to do more."
"While Russia went along with Monday’s extension, Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the decision had been difficult. He signaled that the next renewal would not be automatic."
“Expectations for the new six-month extension in July will only be borne out if the view and approach of members of the Security Council to the provision of humanitarian assistance in Syria will fundamentally change,” he said, accusing the West of using aid for political leverage on the Assad regime. He also called for the lifting of western sanctions on Syria."
"Syria and Russia prefer humanitarians to deliver aid internally from Damascus across conflict front lines instead of across external borders."
I am afraid I have little sympathy-ok none-for Turkey, as they are still trying to committ genocide against the Armenians. Perhaps it is Karma coming back to bite them.
This is awful news, and I pray that rescue crews can save as many people as possible. This area is already troubled by the Syrian civil war and the many refugees who have fled to Turkiye to escape it, and now this just adds to the distress.
I hope the leaders of Turkiye and Syria can work to lead recovery efforts and rebuild these areas.