(Image via cnn.com)
Staff Writer: Sydney M. Cayer
The sixth most deadly natural disaster in the century hit on Monday, February 7th – A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Syria and Turkey.
This has been the worst natural disaster to target that region to date.
Over 31,000 people have died in Turkey, and over 5,000 have died in Syria. UN emergency aid chief predicts that the death toll will surpass 56,000.
“I think it is difficult to estimate precisely as we need to get under the rubble, but I’m sure it will double or more,” Griffiths told Sky News. “That’s terrifying. This is nature striking back in a really harsh way.”
There are an estimated 200,000 people trapped under the rubble.
Search parties have been conducted throughout the first week and are predicted to end soon. It is unclear the exact amount of people who have been rescued.
The earthquake was not only dangerous because of its magnitude but because of its timing as well. It occurred during the early morning hours when people were sleeping.
Nobody was able to prepare and respond to the disaster.
The BBC states that “this was a region where there had not been a major earthquake for more than 200 years or any warning signs, so the level of preparedness would be less than for a region which was more used to dealing with tremors.”
Over 5,700 buildings collapsed during the tragedy, which raised questions about the safety of the buildings to begin with.
Experts warned that the buildings were unsafe due to endemic corruption and government policies.
One hundred thirteen warrants have been set for people’s arrests connected to collapsed buildings. Twelve arrests have been made so far.
Over 800,000 people are without adequate aid at the moment.
A Pakistani prime minister residing in the USA donated $30 million to Turkey and Syria.
U.S. troops (Army, Air Force, and Navy) are now providing medical aid after responding to requests for assistance.
According to a statement from Army Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, EUCOM’s commander:
“From search and rescue to medical assistance and humanitarian aid, our command is working with other U.S. government agencies to provide the assistance requested by the government of Türkiye in the aftermath of this natural disaster. Compassion and determination are the driving forces behind every U.S. military member and civilian assisting Türkiye during these difficult days.”
Survivors of the tragedy are in a camp that was set up by Turkey’s disaster relief army. People live in makeshift shelters in a field.
The survivors say there is insufficient food, water, heating, or basic amenities. Hundred of people are living in these camps.
“There’s nothing for us here to eat,” says a soldier in his mid-20s named Faris, who fled from the hard-hit city of Antakya. “There’s no gas, no heating system, no electricity. We don’t have money or any of our cards.”
The earthquake affected around 13.5 million people and 2 million refugees.
Ways to help:
Syrian American Medical Society is a global medical relief organization working on the front lines in Syria.
UN Refugee Agency provides high thermal blankets, mattresses, kitchen sets, plastic sheeting, jerry cans, sleeping mats, and winter clothing.
UNICEF focuses on assessing water stations and schools and helping unaccompanied children find their families.
Turkish Red Crescent (Türk Kızılay) has more than 240 staff members, and hundreds of volunteers are providing mobile kitchen and catering services to the area. They provide tents, blankets, beds, and blood.
Save the Children works to support survivors with winter kits and provide whatever aid deems necessary.
An Earthquake Relief Fund with a goal of $5 million for immediate food, shelter, and water. The fundraiser currently sits under $2 million.