A Brief History
On February 6, 2023, a major earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 hit Turkey in the area of Gaziantep in the South-Central part of the country. Major aftershocks ensued, and then, 9 hours later, a second quake measuring 7.5 struck the already devastated region at Kahramanmaraş.
Update: As of February 13, 2023, the death count has sadly reached over 36,000 people. Some remarkable stories of survival have also emerged, such as a lady well into her 80s that was pulled alive from the rubble after more than 5 days being buried.
Update #2: As of February 15, the death toll has surpassed 41,000! Again, the tragedy is somewhat offset by the near miraculous finding of living victims under the rubble, though rescuers are losing confidence as the time goes on. Massive amount of aid continue to pour in to stricken areas.
Damage was severe, with close to 3,000 buildings destroyed, and deaths numbered in the hundreds, perhaps even the thousands. At least 2,900 people are believed dead, with over 14,000 more injured. The area affected by the quakes ranged as far as Syria, Lebanon, and Israel and tremors could be felt on Cyprus. Northern Syria, already wracked by civil war, suffered severe damage and may have considerable casualties. Moreover, various ancient and medieval castles in Syria and Turkey have sustained significant damage, including Gaziantep Castle.
A Turkish seismic observatory professor estimated deaths could reach as high as 48,500 and monetary losses of $20 billion. Luckily, a potential tsunami did not occur.
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For more information, please see…
Miles, Kathryn. Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake. Dutton, 2017.
Simon, Seymour. Earthquakes. HarperCollins, 2006.
The featured image in this article, a seismogram by James St. John from the Isparta seismic station in Turkey, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
You can also watch video versions of this article on YouTube.