From CNN staff
A view of debris as search and rescue works continue in Kahramanmaras,Turkey, on February 6. (Adsiz Gunebakan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
CNN- More than 2,300 people have been killed and some 3,000 others injured in Turkey and Syria after two quakes, the first magnitude 7.8 and the 2nd 7.5, hit southern Turkey Monday.
Rescuers are now frantically searching for survivors after the powerful quake shook the region, causing multiple aftershocks and sending tremors as far away as Lebanon and Israel.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Major disaster: The quake struck 23 kilometers (14.2 miles) east of Nurdagi in Turkey’s Gaziantep province, at a depth of 24.1 kilometers (14.9 miles), and is one of the strongest to hit the region in more than 100 years, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.
- The victims: At least 284 people have died and more than 2,300 others were injured in Turkey, officials said. In neighboring Syria, at least 237 people died and 639 others were injured, state media reported, citing the Health Ministry. USGS estimated the total death toll could reach as high as 10,000 people.
- Devastating aftermath: The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) said their hospitals in Syria “are overwhelmed with patients filling the hallways,” while the White Helmets, also known as the Syrian Civil Defense, declared the northwest of the country as a “disaster area.”
- Survivors’ accounts: Journalist Eyad Kourdi, who lives in Gaziantep, told CNN there were up to eight “very strong” aftershocks in under a minute after the quake. Dr. Mazen Kewara, SAMS Middle East director, said he was sheltering in his car with his family “in very very heavy weather” after the quake. They were sleeping “when we started to feel everything shaking around us,” he said.
- Rescue efforts: The Netherlands and Israel are among countries to pledge support after Turkey’s disaster agency appealed for help from the international community. Meanwhile, nearly 1,000 search and rescue volunteers have been deployed from Istanbul to southern Turkey, officials said.
- Freezing conditions: Poor weather, including snow and sub-zero temperatures, is likely to hamper the rescue efforts as a cold and wet weather system moves through the region. Temperatures will drop Tuesday, with the low in Gaziantep expected to fall to -6 degrees Celsius (21 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Global support: Leaders from the US, India, Pakistan and Ukraine have offered condolences and pledged support following the disaster. White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the US was “profoundly concerned” about the destruction.
Centuries-old Gaziantep Castle heavily damaged after quake
From CNN’s Yusuf Gezer
Turkey’s centuries-old Gaziantep Castle has been heavily damaged after a powerful earthquake and aftershocks rocked the country’s south on Monday morning.
“Some of the bastions in the east, south and southeast parts of the historical Gaziantep Castle in the central Şahinbey district were destroyed by the earthquake, the debris was scattered on the road,” Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu reported.
“The iron railings around the castle were scattered on the surrounding sidewalks. The retaining wall next to the castle also collapsed. In some bastions, large cracks were observed.”
The dome and eastern wall of the historical Şirvani Mosque, which is located next to the castle and is said to have been built in the 17th century, also partially collapsed, it added.
According to archaeological excavations, the castle was first built as a watchtower in the Roman period in II-IV centuries A.D and expanded over time.
It took its current form in between 527-565 A.D. during the period of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, according to Turkish Museums, the official site of museums and archaeological sites in the country.
USGS estimates fatalities from Turkey quake could be as high as 10,000
From CNN’s Brandon Miller and Alex Stambaugh
The death toll from the powerful earthquake that hit southern Turkey early Monday could reach as high as 10,000 people, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said.
According to its estimates, USGS said there is a 47% chance of it reaching between 1,000 to 10,000 people, whereas there is a 27% chance of it reaching between 100 and 1,000 and a 20% chance of it reaching between 10,000 and 100,000.
The USGS estimates come from modeling based on historical earthquakes in the region, the population exposed to the heaviest shaking, and the vulnerability of the structures in the hardest hit zones.
“High casualties and extensive damage are probable and the disaster is likely widespread,” the USGS said in the report.
“The population in this region resides in structures that are extremely vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though some resistant structures exist.”
The report also estimates economic losses will likely be between $1 billion to $10 billion, which could reach up to 2% of Turkey’s GDP.
So far, more than 500 people have been confirmed dead and some 3,000 others injured in Turkey and Syria, according to officials and state media.Sub-zero temperatures and snow are likely to hamper rescue efforts
From CNN’s Brandon Miller
Sub-zero temperatures and snow are likely to hamper rescue efforts
With a cold and wet weather system moving through the region, poor conditions are likely to impact the post-earthquake rescue and recovery efforts in southern Turkey and northern Syria on Monday, according to CNN meteorologists.
Temperatures just above the freezing mark are occurring in Turkey’s Gaziantep province, with rain and snow showers forecast on both Monday and Tuesday.
Even though early February falls within the coldest part of the year, the current temperatures are even colder than average, running about 5 degrees Celsius (about 9 degrees Fahrenheit) below seasonal norms.
And the weather is about to get colder: Temperatures will drop below freezing by Tuesday, with the low in Gaziantep falling to -6 degrees Celsius (21 degrees Fahrenheit).
Snow showers will become more widespread later on Monday and lasting through Tuesday. The snow will be heaviest in the higher elevations, but could fall all the way down to the border with Syria.
Despite the conditions, officials have asked residents to leave their buildings their safety, as additional aftershocks are expected following Monday’s 7.8 quake.
However, “that’s a pretty difficult ask considering that the weather at the time is right around freezing,” CNN’s Scott McLean reports. “It’s very difficult to be outside in your pajamas for long periods of time without coats, without supplies.”
Netherlands sending search and rescue team
From CNN’s Mick Krever
The Netherlands will send a search and rescue team to Turkey to assist in the response to the earthquake that has left hundreds dead, Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said on Monday.
“This team includes police and military personnel, first aid responders, and firefighters,” Hoekstra said on Twitter. “Shocked by the news of the devastating earthquake in Türkiye and Syria. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families, and the many injured Turks and Syrians.”
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD) earlier called on the international community for help with search and rescue efforts.
World leaders extend condolences and offer help after deadly Turkey quake
From CNN’s Maria Kostenko, Vedika Sud and Colin McCullough
Messages of condolences and support poured in Monday as world leaders woke to the news of the deadly earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky extended his condolences to the victims on Twitter and offered assistance. “We stand with the people of Turkey in this difficult time. We are ready to provide the necessary assistance to overcome the consequences of the disaster,” Zelensky said.
- On Twitter, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “Anguished by the loss of lives and damage of property” from the quake. “India stands in solidarity with the people of Turkey and is ready to offer all possible assistance to cope with this tragedy,” he said.
- Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif sent his condolences to the people of both Turkey and Syria in a series of tweets. The total death toll across the two countries following the earthquake stands at more than 500.
- Israel’s President Isaac Herzog tweeted: “The State of Israel always stands ready to assist in every way possible. Our hearts are with the grieving families and the Turkish people at this painful moment.”
- White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the United States was “profoundly concerned” about the destruction in Syria and Turkey. “I have been in touch with Turkish officials to relay that we stand ready to provide any & all needed assistance. We will continue to closely monitor the situation in coordination with Turkiye,” Sullivan wrote on Twitter.
- The US diplomatic mission in Turkey also expressed “deep sorrow for the tragic casualties and extensive damage caused by the earthquake” in a tweet.