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  • Writer's pictureCCA Pulse Magazine

Turkey and Syria | Guy Starr

On February 6, 2023, two of the largest earthquakes in over 20 years hit the Turkish-Syrian border, killing over 21,000 people. The two earthquakes measured 7.8 and 7.5 in magnitude. In Turkey alone, there have been 17,674 deaths, which surpasses the death toll of the 1999 earthquake. These earthquakes have had aftershocks that have crippled buildings all over the southern part of Turkey and the northern part of Syria. The sudden hits have made responding difficult. Within the first three days, the rescuers found survivors under the rubble every hour. On Thursday evening, they were unable to find a single survivor, only many dead bodies.

The demand for burial in Turkey was so high that instead of digging each grave by hand, gravediggers had to resort to using large excavators. They worked from 7:00 am until past sunset and buried people every two to three minutes. Families don’t even get the chance to have a proper burial or a real opportunity to say goodbye to their loved ones. One team pulled a 45-year-old woman from wreckage 72 hours after the earthquake in Diyarbakir, a town in Turkey’s east. That’s three days stuck under the rubble. The Istanbul municipal fire department rescued a 12-year-old alive after 84 hours.

After the disasters, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to rebuild every home that was destroyed within one year and promised to give every person affected by the earthquakes an amount equivalent to $531. In terms of aid, many countries have sent help to the area. Some of those countries include Algeria, Canada, China, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, and the U.S. The United Nations sent six trucks with shelter items and nonfood supplies across the Bab al-Hawa border which connects Turkey to the far northwestern corner of Syria. While it’s important Turkey and Syria receive help during the actual disaster, it’s just as vital that they receive aid afterward. The physical damage caused to the infrastructure and the emotional damage felt by the citizens is enormous. They need to know that the rest of the world is supporting them. What can you do? Spread awareness however you can. Talk to your friends about what’s happening, post on social media, and don’t ignore it.

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