Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria
Two earthquakes, with magnitudes of 7.8 and then 7.5, hit Turkey and Syria in the early morning hours. Thousands of buildings have collapsed or been destroyed, including hospitals. The death toll is expected to be large, possibly tens of thousands, but there are also likely to be thousands who have injuries, including “complex injuries such as amputations which require emergency care, rehabilitation and psychological support”, according to Humanity & Inclusion, which is on the ground deploying teams now.
According to Reuters, seismologists have said there is a 62-mile rupture between two plates under the earth’s surface, which is what caused the earthquakes to rock central Turkey and Syria. Further, since it’s winter there, cold weather will not only hamper rescues but make it difficult for anyone trapped in rubble to survive the cold temperatures. The BBC quotes an official in Turkey saying the damage is “widespread and devastating” and that it’s a “race against time to find survivors”. In Syria, the Syrian Civil Defence says “north-west Syria is a disaster area”.
The earthquakes were so strong that millions of people across Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus and Israel felt them. And the aftershocks have been plentiful, with some shocks having a magnitude of 6, which the BBC reports “would normally be a sizeable earthquake in its own right.”
The World Health Organization’s senior emergency officer said, “There’s continued potential of further collapses to happen so we do often see in the order of eight-fold increases on the initial numbers.” She continued, “We always see the same thing with earthquakes, unfortunately, which is that the initial reports of the numbers of people who have died or who have been injured will increase quite significantly in the week that follows.”
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