2023 Turkey-Syria Earthquake
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck on February 6 in southern Turkey, close to Syria’s northern border. A magnitude 7.5 earthquake, located about 59 miles (95 kilometers) to the southwest, was felt nine hours after this one.
The first earthquake was as big as the most powerful one ever recorded there in 1939 and was the most catastrophic to strike earthquake-prone Turkey in more than 20 years. It was situated close to Gaziantep in south-central Turkey, which is also home to numerous humanitarian relief agencies and thousands of Syrian refugees.
Via AFAD’s coordination and collaboration with the Turkish Red Crescent, the Turkish government is taking the lead in the response there. An international aid request was made after level-4 emergency status was announced by state authorities. In 10 of the nation’s provinces, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan proclaimed a three-month state of emergency.
International relief demands were quickly met by rescue teams and humanitarian offers from governments all over the world. The United Nations refers to Turkey’s home country as Türkiye in English (UN).
The Disaster and Emergency Management Authority of Turkey reports that as of March 1, there have been more than 11,000 aftershocks (AFAD). There will probably still be aftershocks for some time.
A 6.4 magnitude earthquake that struck southern Turkey on February 20 left 213 people injured. A magnitude 5.6 earthquake that struck southern Turkey on February 27 collapsed damaged structures and killed at least one person.
New earthquakes, according to ACAPS, are among the worst-case possibilities for the area because they can affect the demand for and capacity to provide for humanitarian aid. Buildings that have been damaged are highly likely to collapse, and survivors may continue to be terrified while also beginning to deal with long-lasting trauma.
The complicated humanitarian calamity that is currently affecting Syria is one of the worst in the world, and the earthquake will only make things worse and expose more vulnerabilities. The fact that the government does not fully control Syria’s northwest, which was the region most severely affected by the earthquake, presents one challenge to supplying relief fast. In contrast to Damascus, where help is managed within the remainder of government-controlled Syria, the UN’s coordinated assistance to Syria’s northwest is sent across the border from Turkey.
4.1 million people in northwest Syria, the bulk of them women and children, rely on humanitarian aid. While though Turkey has received offers of assistance from other nations, and the nation has mechanisms for crisis management to support the response, delivering aid to the affected Syrians is expected to be more challenging given that the country is not controlled by one authority.
Martin Griffiths, the chief humanitarian officer for the UN, declared on February 12 that “We have so far failed the people in north-western Syria. Rightfully, they feel abandoned. searching for unresponsive foreign assistance. The UN claims to be expanding its cross-border aid program.
Three border crossing points—Bab Al-Hawa, Bab Al-Salam, and Al-Raee—were accessible to UN humanitarian deliveries as of February 14.
Since the earthquakes, 583 vehicles carrying supplies from seven organizations had entered northwest Syria as of March 4. Yet, since the accident, hostilities in the area have mostly persisted, leading to claims that life-saving relief was being politicized.
According to a REACH rapid assessment involving 604 communities in northwest Syria, winterization, shelter and multi-purpose cash support were cited as the top priority.
Photo: Members of the Turkish Armed Forces conduct search and rescue efforts after the earthquake, Feb. 7, 2023.
— T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı (@tcsavunma) February 7, 2023
Following the earthquake, a dam in northwest Syria collapsed, resulting in the Orontes River overflowing. People were forced to leave the village of Al-Tlul in the Idlib governorate as a result of the flood. Some 7,000 people were forced to flee, while 1,000 homes in the surrounding villages of Hardana, Delbiya, Jakara, and Hamziyeh were submerged in water.
The flood is an illustration of an indirect and cascading disaster impact that aid workers must take into consideration as they offer aid and start the recovery process while attempting to reduce danger. Partially returning is the displaced populace caused by the dam collapse and following flooding. But because the dam can’t be fixed right away, there’s a chance that people will become sick from drinking the water.
Among the most harmful natural disasters are earthquakes. Because to the two major fault zones in Turkey, the area is among the seismically active in the globe. When natural hazards interact with a human society or community, disaster studies refer to this interaction as vulnerability.
Vulnerability in this catastrophe can be seen in poorly built structures that do not adhere to contemporary earthquake building standards, in the thousands of Syrians who have fled to Turkey or who are internally displaced in northwest Syria and live in shanties, in the destruction of infrastructure within Syria as a result of years of war and aerial bombings, in the ongoing complex humanitarian crisis caused by conflict, and in the cholera outbreak.
Because of these factors, the earthquake that ravaged Syria and Turkey cannot be referred to be a “natural tragedy.” Natural disasters like earthquakes are unavoidable, but their effects on society are not. Due to their own experience, those who were affected by the calamity are instantly aware of this. We knew we lived in an earthquake zone, a store owner in southern Turkey stated. It’s not destiny. Buildings that are too flimsy were constructed by people.
By advocating for safe building construction, supporting risk communication campaigns, investing over the long term to ensure full recovery that incorporates risk reduction, and bolstering preparedness and resilience, funders can help lessen the effects of this disaster as it develops as well as additional disasters in Turkey and Syria.