Natural Disasters

Turkey-Syria earthquake: 78 aftershocks and the cataclysm continues

This is Turkey’s most powerful earthquake recorded since 1939

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 07 February 2023
78 aftershocks reported in Turkey after second quake: UN
Photo: @SAghdashloo / Twitter Photo: @SAghdashloo / Twitter

There were at least 78 aftershocks between the first and second earthquakes in southeastern Turkey February 6, 2023, according to the United Nations.

The first quake, of 7.7 magnitude, struck southern Türkiye at 4:17 am local time. The epicentre was Pazarcik near Gaziantep, a city near the country’s border with northern Syria. It killed close to 2,000 people in Turkiye and northwestern Syria.

The 78 aftershocks took place next, which were followed by a second earthquake of 7.5 magnitude at 13:24, with the epicentre in Ekinozu / Kahramanmaras province.

The earthquake also heavily impacted north-west Syria, a region where 4.1 million people depend on humanitarian assistance today. The majority are women and children.

“At this time, Syrian communities are simultaneously hit with an on-going cholera outbreak and harsh winter events including heavy rain and snow over the weekend. The humanitarian response is largely overstretched with a funding gap of 48 per cent identified for the last quarter of 2022,” ReliefWeb, a humanitarian information service provided by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said in a statement.

This is Türkiye’s most powerful earthquake recorded since 1939. The Government of Türkiye has since issued a Level 4 alarm, calling for international assistance.

“The UN and partners are monitoring the situation on the ground amidst information flow constraints due to chronic telecommunication disruptions and power shortages. Infrastructural damages are difficult to assess at this time and roads have been reportedly blocked in both Türkiye and north-west Syria,” the statement added.

Turkiye (the Turkish/Anatolian plate) sits between three major tectonic plates: African, Arabian and Eurasian. Collisions between the Arabian and African plates with Eurasia typically result in earthquakes, according to a 2021 review paper.

Turkish President Recep Tayyep Erdogan has declared seven days of national mourning following the quakes.

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