The Turkish-Syrian border was hit by a series of devastating earthquakes early on Tuesday morning, resulting in the death of over 4,300 people and the displacement of thousands more. As far as Greenland was concerned, the largest earthquake measured 7.8 magnitude. Rescuers are searching through the rubble with their bare hands, trying to find survivors in the freezing temperatures. The event was described by eyewitnesses as “the apocalypse.”
Several nations offered assistance in response to the quake’s impact, which was significant enough to provoke a global response. Unfortunately, the freezing rain and sub-zero temperatures have hindered the rescue efforts. According to the Turkish AFAD, there have been 2,921 deaths in their country alone, bringing the confirmed death toll to 4,365, while the World Health Organization has estimated that there could be as many as 20,000 deaths worldwide.
In the city of Gaziantep, rescuers were seen crying and shouting for safety as another building suddenly collapsed. The earthquake’s epicenter between Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep saw some of the heaviest damage, with entire city blocks reduced to ruins. Over 14,000 people have been reported injured in Turkey and at least 3,411 in Syria. Aid delivery has been hindered by the inaccessibility of three major airports.
An earthquake struck northern Syria, which had already been devastated by years of war and aerial bombardment by Syrian and Russian forces. As a result of the conflict, the Syrian envoy to the UN has apparently ruled out reopening border crossings in order to aid areas controlled by rebel groups. Natural gas and power supplies have been cut off across the region as a precaution, and schools have been closed for two weeks.
Two of the cities on UNESCO’s heritage list – Aleppo in Syria and Diyarbakir in Turkey – have been damaged, according to the UN cultural agency. Prisoners in a jail holding mostly ISIS members in northern Syria mutinied after the earthquakes, and at least 20 of them escaped. The United States, the European Union, and Russia have all expressed their condolences and offered assistance. The President of the United States has promised to send “any and all” assistance required by Turkish President Erdogan.
As one of the most active earthquake zones in the world, Istanbul, a city with a population of 16 million, has long been warned of a potentially devastating quake. A 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck the Turkish region of Duzce in 1999, resulting in the death of more than 17,000 people. A tragic reminder of the ongoing threat of earthquakes in the region is provided by the current disaster.