Earthquakes Devastate Turkey and Syria


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Emily DeMotte, Staff Writer

     Devastation rang across central Turkey and northern and western Syria on Monday Feb. 6 after two powerful earthquakes with multiple aftershocks struck the area, causing mass casualties and destruction. Classified as magnitudes 7.6 and 7.8 on the Richter scale, the two earthquakes were felt as far as 1,000 km away from the site they struck. Today, the death toll stands at over 36,000. 

     With death tolls still rising, this earthquake is now the deadliest in Turkey’s history and one of the 5 deadliest in the world in the past 20 years, according to CNN reporter Krystina Shveda. Rescue efforts, although slowed by a large winter storm in the area, have continued with survivors still being pulled from the debris over a week after the disaster. The U.N. predicts that over 5 million people may now be without homes in Syria and in Turkey, misplaced families are seeking shelter in tents set up by Turkey’s emergency management agency, AFAD.

     However, rescue efforts in the affected areas have been impacted by political unrest, with Turkish government authorities arresting several Turkish contractors who have been accused of being connected to the construction of the several buildings that collapsed after the quake struck last Monday morning. This action is a result of many contractors surpassing safety standards and regulations in order to encourage a construction boom, despite warnings from experts on the dangers of the way these new buildings were constructed.

     The mass devastation that this natural disaster has brought upon Turkey and Syria will be felt for months and years to come, with millions of lives affected, far-reaching and costly damage and worsening political unrest.