Turkey-Syria Earthquake

Series of strong aftershocks rattles


Photo courtesy of the UN Refugee Agency

Thousands of Syrian refugees who fled to Turkey amid the war and destruction in their home country now find themselves stuck between the rubble of last week’s earthquake. This powerful earthquake was big – registered as 7.8 and is classified as “major” on the official magnitude scale. Its aftershocks destroyed more than 100,000 buildings, killed more than 46,000 people, and left more than a million homeless. Thousands of people were found dead and tens of thousands of others were injured by the earthquake that rocked Turkey and Syria on Feb. 6. 

Crushed cars underneath a collapsed building in Hatay, southern Turkey, following a devastating earthquake – Photo courtesy of Sky News


In Turkey, officials said that rescue efforts are prioritized on pulling out trapped people from under the debris of several hundred collapsed buildings. However, many are racing against time and aftershocks to pull out survivors on both sides of the border.

Mustafa Erdik, a professor of earthquake engineering at Bogaz  ici University at Istanbul said, “In such collapses, it’s difficult – as you can see – and very tragic to save lives. It makes the operation of the search and rescue teams very difficult.”

Rescue teams are desperately searching for survivors beneath the rubble of buildings and grim conditions. Unfortunately, people have died due to immediate medical needs such as bleeding to death, succumbing to crash injuries or lack of food and water while awaiting rescue.

While coping with the aftershocks Syrian refugees have lined up at the border in hopes of returning home temporarily. Many carried suitcases, plastic bags, and potato sacks along with any other personal belongings they were able to salvage. 

A recent interview shows a baby was born underneath the rubble of her family’s home. Her entire immediate family, including her parents and four siblings were killed. Miraculously, someone heard her cries buried underneath the

building and found her still attached to the mother. 

She was taken to the hospital where she stayed for more than a week. There, doctors discovered she was covered in bruises and said that, had she been buried “for an hour more, she would have died.” Many offered to take her in but the uncle – who helped save her – had already taken up that position; he renamed her Afraa after her mother.