Turkey + Syria Earthquake: Fast Facts

One of the largest earthquakes ever recorded in Turkey has killed approximately 50,000 people and injured thousands more, including residents in neighboring Syria. Learn about the deadly earthquake and how you can help survivors.


1. The earthquake was the strongest to hit Turkey in decades.

From its epicenter in Gaziantep, in south-central Turkey, the 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook residents in Turkey and neighboring northwestern Syria early Monday morning. People fled outside into the bitter cold, and within 20 minutes of the initial quake, two aftershocks of 6.7 and 5.6 magnitude occurred 20 miles from the epicenter. Nine hours later, a second 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck southeastern Turkey, almost 60 miles north of the first earthquake. Thousands of aftershocks in southeast Turkey and northern Syria have been recorded since then, including a magnitude 5.7 temblor on Feb. 7. A magnitude 6.3 quake struck Turkey’s southern Hatay province on Monday followed by 90 aftershocks, the largest of which was recorded at 5.8 magnitude.
Source: The New York Times + BBC + CNN + CBS

Help Turkey earthquake survivors with a donation to GlobalGiving’s Turkey and Syria Earthquake Relief Fund.


2. The death toll is rising in Turkey and Syria.

Approximately 50,000 people have been killed in both countries. Turkish authorities have reported that 44,218 people have been killed as search and rescue teams continue to work across the country. Nearly 530,000 people have been evacuated from the affected area. In rebel-held northwest Syria, the Syrian Civil Defense (known as the White Helmets) reports the death toll has surpassed 4,400, with more than 8,000 injured. In regions of Syria held by President Bashar al-Assad’s government, over 1,500 people were killed and more than 2,295 were injured, according to state media.
Sources: TIME + The Washington Post + reliefweb + ALJAZEERA + Bloomberg

3. Homes, businesses, and infrastructure have been destroyed.

Turkey lies in one of the world’s most active earthquake zones, and recent quakes in the region have caused deadly landslides. The Turkish government has reported that 173,000 buildings have collapsed or are severely damaged across Turkey. In Syria, more than a decade of war has brought airstrikes and bombardments that left much of the infrastructure unable to withstand the earthquakes or aftershocks.
Source: The New York Times + The Washington Post + BBC + ALJAZEERA

4. This disaster could worsen an already dire humanitarian crisis.

In a region plagued by years of war, a refugee crisis, and deep economic troubles, there are serious concerns about the capabilities to respond to the devastating earthquake. Turkey hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees, and nearly 3 million internally displaced Syrians live in opposition-held areas. Many of these refugees live in camps on both sides of the Syria-Turkey border.

The civil war in Syria has devastated the country’s economy. Syria’s gross domestic product shrank by more than half over a decade. And due to runaway inflation, Turkey’s currency is collapsing. Recovery from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake will likely cause more economic strain in the region, as the United States Geological Survey estimated the damage could top $1 billion.

Even before the latest earthquakes, the International Rescue Committee raised concerns about the impact of freezing temperatures on people living in makeshift shelters, tents, and damaged buildings without adequate heating.
Source: The Washington Post + BBC + The New York Times

Help earthquake survivors with a donation to GlobalGiving’s Turkey and Syria Earthquake Relief Fund.


5. GlobalGiving partners are already helping earthquake survivors in Turkey and Syria access food, shelter, and other emergency services.

Response efforts are underway. However, with difficult weather conditions, including low temperatures and frequent rain, and the ongoing conflict in northern Syria, the response will be challenging.

GlobalGiving’s Disaster Response Team is working with local responding partners, including Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants, Caritas Austria, International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation, and NuDay to meet the immediate needs of earthquake survivors. Once those needs are met, donations to GlobalGiving’s Turkey and Syria Earthquake Relief Fund will power the efforts of local nonprofits that can respond to overlooked community needs and lead long-term recovery.
Source: GlobalGiving Turkey and Syria Earthquake Relief Fund

6. Cash is the best way to help people in need during a natural disaster like the earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria.

Why? Survivors’ needs vary greatly throughout the life cycle of recovery. Some will require financial support, medical care, and psychological assistance years down the road. You can learn more about the importance of cash donations in this infographic.
Source: GlobalGiving + USAID Center for International Disaster Information

Help communities hit hardest by the earthquake in Turkey and Syria through GlobalGiving and fuel community-led recovery.


Featured Photo: 7.8 Earthquake Emergency Response in Turkey& Syria by International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation

Note: This article was originally published at 4:47 p.m. on Feb. 6, 2023 and last updated at 11:15 a.m. on March 2, 2023.

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