The devastating Turkey and Syria earthquake 2023 occured on February 6, 2023, with a magnitude of 7.8 struck the border region between Turkey and Syria, with the epicenter located in the Pazarcık district of Kahramanmaras province. At 04:17 TRT, the epicentre was 20 miles (32 km) west-northwest of Gaziantep (01:17 UTC). The maximum Mercalli intensity of the Turkey and Syria earthquake 2023 was XI (Extreme). Nine hours later, a Mw 7.7 earthquake with a centre 95 kilometres (59 miles) to the north-northeast of the first one, in the Kahramanmaraş Province, was felt. The Turkey and Syria earthquake 2023 caused widespread destruction and loss of life, with the death toll estimated to be over 46,000 people.
Causes of the Earthquake
The entire country of Turkey is being pushed aside as a tectonic plate from the Arabian Peninsula enters the Eurasian Plate from the north. For millennia, that tectonic shift has been the cause of earthquakes in the region, notably the one in 1138 that completely destroyed the Syrian city of Aleppo. Several thousands of people have died in more recent earthquakes, such the one that devastated the city of Izmit in 1999.
The Turkey and Syria earthquake 2023 was caused by the collision of the African and Eurasian tectonic plates, which run through the region. This collision has created the Anatolian fault, which is responsible for earthquakes in Turkey and surrounding countries. The fault runs from the Mediterranean to Iran, and earthquakes along the fault can cause significant damage.
Casualties and Damage
The Turkey and Syria earthquake 2023 caused significant destruction in both Turkey and Syria, with many buildings and homes completely destroyed or severely damaged. The town of Kahramanmaras was particularly hard hit, with many buildings and homes reduced to rubble. The earthquake also caused landslides and avalanches, making rescue and recovery efforts even more challenging.
In Turkey's ten worst hit provinces, there were at least 44,374 fatalities and 108,068 injuries (along with some casualties and damage in the provinces of Muş, Elaz, Giresun, Mardin, Sivas, Kayseri, and Batman). 4 million buildings and at least 13.5 million individuals have been impacted on Turkey and Syria earthquake 2023. 345,000 apartments or so were destroyed. When buildings fell, thousands of people were buried under the debris. In the wrecked structures, many people are still unaccounted for. Some others who were buried under debris livestreamed their requests for assistance on social media.
Syria saw more than 6,760 fatalities and 14,500 injuries on Turkey and Syria earthquake 2023. More than 2,234 people have died and 2,950 people have been injured as a result of the earthquake in government-held territories, most of whom were in the provinces of Aleppo and Latakia, according to the Syrian Ministry of Health. There have been 2,200 injuries and at least 4,526 fatalities in regions controlled by rebels. Up to 5.37 million individuals could have potentially lost their homes in Syria, and 10.9 million people, or about half the population, were affected overall.
World-wide humanitarian operations
The Turkish and Syrian governments immediately launched a massive rescue and recovery effort, with emergency services rushing to the scene to help those affected by the Turkey and Syria earthquake 2023. Many countries around the world offered their support and assistance, including the United States, the European Union, and several Middle Eastern nations.
One country that provided significant support and assistance to Turkey and Syria earthquake 2023 was India. The Indian government sent a team of disaster response experts to the affected region to help with rescue and recovery efforts. The team, consisting of doctors, engineers, and search and rescue specialists, provided crucial support to the local authorities and emergency services in the affected areas.
In addition to providing on-the-ground assistance, the Indian government also pledged to provide financial aid to Turkey and Syria to help with the reconstruction efforts. The government announced that it would provide $10 million in aid to Turkey and $5 million to Syria, to help the countries rebuild and recover from the Turkey and Syria earthquake 2023.
Despite the international support and assistance, the road to recovery for those affected by the Turkey and Syria earthquake 2023 will be long and difficult. Many people have lost their homes and livelihoods, and the rebuilding efforts will take time and resources.
Tragically, just two weeks after the devastating earthquake of February 6, another earthquake struck the same region on February 20, with a magnitude of 6.4. The epicenter of the earthquake was located near the town of Reyhanli in Turkey, and it caused further damage to the already devastated region by the Turkey and Syria earthquake 2023.
Although the magnitude of the second earthquake was smaller than the first Turkey and Syria earthquake 2023, it still caused significant damage to buildings and infrastructure, and it further compounded the suffering of those affected by the first earthquake. The Turkish and Syrian governments, along with their international partners, continue to work tirelessly to help those affected by the earthquakes and to support the rebuilding efforts.
Operation Dost by Government of India
Operation Dost is a continuing search and rescue effort launched by the Indian government to assist Turkey and Syria.
Indian aid to Turkey after Turkey and Syria earthquake 2023 was among the first, according to Turkish diplomat Firat Sunel. On the evening of February 6, 2023, India promptly dispatched NDRF teams for rescue efforts in Turkey's devastated districts. 47 members of the NDRF, three senior officers, and a dog squad with special training were all sent by the Indian Air Force on a C-17 to Adana. Equipment required for the humanitarian activities, such as drilling machines, medical supplies, and other equipment, were with the workers.
At the Damascus Airport on February 8, 2023, Deputy Minister of Local Administration & Environment Moutaz Douaji received over 6 tonnes of emergency relief aid, which included 3 truckloads of protective gear, life-saving drugs, ECG equipment, and other medical supplies.
Moutaz Douaji welcomed the 7th IAF flight when it touched down at Syria's Damascus Airport on February 12, 2023. In addition to gensets, solar lamps, emergency & critical care medications, and disaster relief supplies, it held almost 23 tonnes of humanitarian supplies.
In conclusion, the Turkey and Syria earthquake 2023 that struck Turkey and Syria in February 2023 was a stark reminder of the destructive power of nature and the importance of international cooperation in times of crisis. The support and assistance provided by countries around the world, including India, helped to alleviate the suffering of those affected by the Turkey and Syria earthquake 2023 and provided hope for the future. However, the road to recovery will be long and difficult, and it will require sustained effort and resources to help those affected to rebuild their lives and communities.