More than 1,300 Dead After Powerful Earthquake in Turkey and Syria

More than 1,300 Dead After Powerful Earthquake in Turkey and Syria


Nearly 5,000 people have died and many others remained trapped under debris after a powerful earthquake jolted southern Turkey and northern Syria early on Monday, with tremors also reported in Egypt, Cyprus, Lebanon and Israel, making it the region’s deadliest quake in over a decade.

An aerial view of collapsed buildings after 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes hit Kahramanmaras, … [+] Turkey.

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Key Facts

According to the United States Geological Survey, the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck at 4:17 a.m. local time, followed by a 6.7 magnitude aftershock just 11 minutes later.

The quake had a shallow depth of only 17.9 kilometers (11.1 miles) with the epicenter located just 20 miles from the major Turkish city of Gaziantep.

The death toll from the quake is at least 4,983 according to reporting from the Associated Press—and could rise, as hundreds were hospitalized with injuries and more people are believed to be trapped under collapsed buildings.

At least 3,381 have died in Turkey with more than 20,000 people injured across 10 provinces of Turkey, government officials said.

Across the border in Syria, the death toll is expected to be in the hundreds, with most of the devastation taking place in a region held by anti-Assad rebels with limited access to healthcare facilities and infrastructure already decimated by an ongoing 12-year-long civil war.

The exact toll in Syria remains unclear as the the Assad regime has reported 812 deaths while the rebel forces in the country’s north reported more than 790 deaths in areas under their control—although it is unclear if there is any overlap between the two numbers.

Crucial Quote

On TwitterErdogan conveyed his “best wishes” to the people affected by the earthquake, adding that various government entities have “started their work rapidly” carrying out search and relief efforts. “We hope that we will get through this disaster together as soon as possible and with the least damage, and we continue our work,” he added. Erdogan later tweeted the country would observe seven days of national mourning.

What To Watch For

The death toll from the earthquake is expected to significantly rise both in Turkey and Syria. USGS estimates a 47% chance the final number could be somewhere between 1,000 and 10,000 fatalities. The estimate notes that around 70,000 lived in areas that reported “violent” shaking along with an additional 540,000 in areas that felt “severe” shaking. According to the USGS’ intensity scaleareas with “violent” shaking are likely to see considerable damage to structures, including partial collapse and buildings being shifted off foundations.

Further Reading

Powerful quake kills at least 560 people in Turkey, Syria (Associated Press)

7.4 quake causes major damage in southern Türkiye, deaths climb (Hurriyet Daily News)

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