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Massive earthquakes kill thousands in Türkiye, Syria

A Google Map showing the epicenter of the second major earthquake Tuesday in Türkiye. (Google Maps and U.S. Geological Survey)

Nicosia, CYPRUS – I was lucky this morning. I had the privilege of waking up to the news of an earthquake in Türkiye.

I was not one of the thousands of citizens who were left homeless, in the cold, woken up from the shaking and screaming.

In the early hours of the morning, at 4:17 am, an earthquake now confirmed to be a 7.8 on the Richter scale shook southern Türkiye.

Its epicentre was Gaziantep in southern Türkiye. Aftershocks followed. Entire buildings collapsed and many people are feared trapped in the rubble in southern Türkiye and across the border in Syria.

A second massive earthquake, this one a 7.5, struck nearby Kahramanmaraş.

With CNN reporting over 50 aftershocks in the surrounding area, the results have been devastating.

Red circles are earthquakes and orange circles are serious aftershocks, all on February 6. The red line is the plate boundary. (Map and information from the U.S. Geological Survey)

The death toll in Türkiye and Syria, is more than 3,400 and could rise dramatically, according to the BBC. Many thousands more are injured.

An international rescue effort is underway, with people working in winter weather trying to find survivors.

According to the Associated Press, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – who is usually careful with his wording in tragic situations such as these – blatantly stated, “We do not know how high the number of dead and injured will rise.”

Millions in Syria depend on humanitarian aid, with recent outbreaks and the harsh cold, and now this devastation is added to their many woes.

With buildings collapsing and citizens being left out in the harsh winter, one cannot help but marvel at the lack of infrastructure and planning, which has led to so much death and destruction.

When the second earthquake hit, in early afternoon local time, its epicentre was Kahramanmaraş. Fragile buildings, having barely survived the first earthquake, collapsed under the second impact.

Governmental organizations are rushing to provide relief to their citizens, and help from across the globe is on its way.

Erin Timur is a Senior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

More YJI reporting about earthquakes in Türkiye:

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