The Damaging and Deadly Turkey Earthquake


Building destroyed by the Turkey Earthquake. In courtesy of Flickr images.

On February 6, 2023 at 4:17pm (Turkey Time Zone), an earthquake that was 7.8 on the Richter scale hit southern and central Turkey. An additional 7.5 earthquake struck hours later, sending a shockwave of damage across Turkey. The lives of millions of Turkish citizens were affected by these two massive earthquakes. The earthquake’s death toll exceeds 45,000, which makes these earthquakes the most destructive and deadly event in Turkey’s history. The earthquake additionally caused over 100,000 injuries, and ruined 4 million buildings including 345,000 apartments that were completely devastated.

There was a significant amount of damage in Turkey– about 140,000 square miles– which is roughly the same size as the country Germany. An estimated 14 million people, which is 16 percent of Turkey’s population overall, were affected. Development experts from the United Nations estimated that about 1.5 million people were left homeless. With the amount of people affected, one begs the question, how are these citizens receiving the help they need? Several survivors across the affected areas of Turkey that were left homeless were forced to spend their nights in the deserted, destructed areas of Turkey. Therefore, one of the biggest problems for the survivors of the earthquake was finding a safe shelter.

 The Turkey President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced on Twitter, “search and rescue teams were immediately dispatched” towards the affected cities following the earthquake. Additionally, according to BBC News, the USA has donated money to the event; “The top humanitarian aid agency in the US government has pledged $85 million in urgent life-saving relief for earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria.” Other countries such as Japan and Croatia are also providing care for the victims, such as rescue equipment and workers. 

Unfortunately, there are still many missing people who are unaccounted for. Many bodies are still slowly being recovered from the remnants of collapsed buildings and apartments. Many families are still searching for their missing relatives by putting up “missing person” signs and contacting Turkish authorities. The Turkish authorities state that they still don’t have an accurate number as to how many people are missing. According to the New York Times, Turkish authorities are “using fingerprints, DNA tests, and photographs to try to link unidentified bodies with their next of kin.”

Tragically, there are many families who are hoping to find traces of their missing loved ones. Some families have received agonizing death confirmations and certificates with grave numbers where their family member was buried. Others who have not found their family view unpleasant photographs in an attempt to recognize a face. Some have still been left with nothing to help.

The overall damage cost of the earthquake has been estimated to be $34 billion which is, “roughly 4% of the country’s annual economic output,” according to the World Bank. It is still unknown how Turkey will rehabilitate their economy and construct new homes for the homeless. Many countries and people are contributing their money and services  in order to provide relief to those who were affected by the earthquake. However, they are still in need of desperate help. 

If one wants to help the Turkey Earthquake victims, many national and international organizations are contributing to the cause. Organizations like UNICEF and Global Giving are accepting donations. It is important that Turkey receives all the help that they can.