Devastating Earthquake Was Felt in 4 Countries

Death toll in Turkey and Syria is 1.3K and rising quickly
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2023 6:38 AM CST
Devastating Earthquake Was Felt in 4 Countries
Syrian civil defense members search for people under the rubble of a destroyed building in Afrin, Syria, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023.   (Zana Halil/DIA images via AP)

The news after a powerful earthquake near the border of Turkey and Syria early Monday seems to be getting worse by the hour as rescuers in both countries look for survivors and assess the damage:

  • Death toll: The toll was at more than 1,300 Monday morning, with more than 900 dead in southern Turkey and 400 in northern and central Syria, reports the Wall Street Journal. Hundreds if not thousands of people are believed to be trapped under collapsed buildings. “At the moment, we don’t know how high the dead and wounded numbers will rise,” says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

  • Where: The 7.8-magnitude quake struck at 4:17am near the city of Gaziantep in south-central Turkey, per the United States Geological Survey. It was also felt in Israel and Lebanon, reports the New York Times, though no deaths have been reported there. More than 20 aftershocks after been reported, including one of at least 7.5-magnitude, per the Washington Post.
  • War refugees: The region has been shaped by Syria's long-running civil war. The AP explains: "On the Syrian side, the swath affected is divided between government-held territory and the country’s last opposition-held enclave, which is surrounded by Russian-backed government forces. Turkey, meanwhile, is home to millions of refugees from that conflict." Many of these refugees were already living in bombed-out buildings or in makeshift camps.
  • Brutal cold: The quake hit during a winter storm in the region, when temperatures hovered around freezing. “The fact that it’s winter, the weather is cold, and that the earthquake happened in the middle of the night makes the work harder but everyone is working with their hearts and souls in it,” says Erdogan.
  • Fault lines: The region affected sits atop major fault lines and is prone to powerful earthquakes. The North Anatolian Fault is comparable to the San Andreas Fault in the US, per
(More earthquake stories.)

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