February 6, 2023

EDITOR'S NOTE: Global Citizen has a list of organizations you can support to help those affected by this devastating event.

Thousands of collapsed buildings, widespread destruction, and deep anguish were reported alongside over 2,300 dead and thousands more injured after a pair of earthquakes—an initial 7.8 tremor on the Richter scale in the early morning and another that measured 7.5—devastated Syria and Turkey on Monday.

Amid dozens of aftershocks—and the quakes being also felt in Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories—the full scale of the destruction and the ultimate death toll remains unknown, though early estimates of the dead and wounded were rising by the hour.

According to Turkey's Hurriyet Daily, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan described the quakes as the most severe in the nation since 1939.

The first quake occurred just after 4:00 am local time in Kahramanmaras province, north of Gaziantep, near the Syrian border, while the second took place in the southeastern Turkey.

One television crew was reporting on the first quake in the city of Malatya, when the second one hit:

The death toll in government-held areas of Syria climbed to 339, according to Syrian state media, with deaths reported in the cities of Aleppo, Hama, Latakia and Tartous.

Agnes Callamard, head of Amnesty International, said her organization was "in deep sorrow" following news of the disaster.

"We extend our deepest condolences to all those who have lost loved ones, and call for the Governments and international community to provide speedy search and relief," Callamard said.

Filippo Grandi, High Commissioner for Refugees at the United Nations, said, "We at UNHCR stand in solidarity with the people of Türkiye and Syria affected by today's devastating earthquake and are ready to help provide urgent relief to the survivors through our field teams wherever possible."

Republished from Common Dreams (Jon Queally, staff writer) under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

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