EARTHQUAKE FACTS: • Turkey & Syria on Feb. 6 • 13.5 million affected • 7.8- and 7.5- magnitude quakes
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In the early morning darkness of Feb. 6, a major earthquake struck south-central Turkey, collapsing houses and multi-story apartment buildings as people slept.

First was the 7.8-magnitude earthquake, which shook the ground for 75 seconds and destroyed buildings over a huge area, including in neighboring Syria. Nine hours later, a second major 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit along an ADJACENT fault line.

These are strike-slip faults, where a block of the Earth’s crust on one side of a fault (a deep fracture in the rock) may violently move left or right while the block on the other side moves in the opposite direction.

The number of people killed is heartbreaking. As of press time more than 41,000 people in Turkey have died from the quake—most of them crushed or trapped in collapses. In Syria, 5,800 were killed by the quake. Tragically, most buildings in the region aren’t ENGINEERED to withstand earthquakes. Sadly, more than 32,000 buildings have toppled or collapsed, and strong aftershocks continue to do more damage. The Turkish government says 13.5 million have been affected in the region.

Almost 30,000 search and rescue teams from Turkey, Syria and all over the world are hard at work, sometimes forced to sleep or rest on the rubble that they are working on. Donations of blood, clothing, blankets, food and hygiene products are arriving.

Once thriving cities and towns are devastated. “It’s difficult to watch this tragedy unfold, especially since we’ve known for a long time that the buildings in the region were not designed to withstand earthquakes,” said USGS scientist David Wald. “An earthquake this size has the potential to be damaging anywhere…but many structures in this region are particularly vulnerable.”

If you and your family or schoolmates want to donate money, find a reputable disaster relief agency by researching on Charity Navigator, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy or CharityWatch.

March 2023