Earthquakes Devastate 11 Locations Across Turkey

Chenhan Huang, Staff Writer

At 9:17 local time on February 6th in Turkey, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake occurred. After the strong earthquake, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey announced seven days of national mourning, and that the country will lower its national flag. As of February 19, 2023 local time, Turkey’s Disaster Emergency Management Bureau said that the earthquake had killed 40,689 people in the country.

According to the latest news on the US Geological Survey’s website, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the southern part of Turkey at about 4:00 a.m. local time on the 6th. Eleven minutes later, there was another 6.7 magnitude aftershock in the country, and eight minutes after the second earthquake, there was a third earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6.

The reason behind this big earthquake is that the area in Turkey is at the three independent blocks under the crust. The movement of the plates makes the fault lines rub against each other, and the pressure makes frequent earthquakes in this area.

The governor of Turkey’s Malatya Province, Hulusi Sahin, said that at least 130 buildings were destroyed in the province. The Gaziantep Castle, a historic site of the Hittite era with a history of more than 1000 years, collapsed the walls and watchtowers of some fortresses of the castle, and other parts were seriously damaged. The Yeni Mosque, built in 1843, has been destroyed for the third time by the earthquake.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter that “search and rescue teams were immediately sent to [the affected areas].” The government announced a “four-level alert” to appeal for international assistance. According to the Disaster and Emergency Management Administration, 25,000 search and rescue people have been sent to 11 disaster-affected locations.

After the earthquake, the market value of Turkey’s main stock index suddenly lost a lot of money. On February 8, the Istanbul Stock Exchange decided to stop the trading of stocks, futures, and options contracts. This is the first time in 24 years this kind of decision has been made.

Some scientists believe that unsafe buildings are one of the reasons for the huge number of deaths in the Turkey earthquake. On February 12, the local procuratorate announced 134 arrest warrants to arrest the contractors and engineers who were responsible for the unsafe buildings in the earthquake area.

A business organization in Turkey estimated that the earthquake is expected to bring more than 84 billion dollars of losses to Turkey’s economy, accounting for about 10% of its GDP.

Many national leaders expressed condolences for the earthquake in Turkey. 66 countries have provided people’s help and material assistance. China, Belgium, and other countries have provided financial support and sent search and rescue teams to help with rescue work.

One student from Macduffie said he was shocked when he heard this news. He felt really sorry for the collapse of Turkey’s historic buildings and the people who died in the earthquake. He said that he had not heard of such a serious earthquake for a long time. 

According to the data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, Turkey is the country with the largest number of refugees in the world. It has about 3.6 million Syrians and nearly 320,000 refugees from other countries. Among the 11 locations affected by the earthquake, there are more than 1.74 million refugees. The United Nations has also started a $1 billion donation for helping Turkey.