Breaking Down Breaking News: The Turkey-Syria earthquakes


Credit: Alyssa Ao

WSPN’s Selena Liu summarizes the recent Turkey-Syria earthquakes.

Selena Liu

What you need to know:

On Feb. 6, an earthquake of 7.8 magnitude hit regions in both Turkey and Syria. Although relief and rescue efforts were immediately initiated, the death toll has already surpassed 40,000 people. This number is estimated to grow. Additionally, the  freezing temperatures and a lack of electricity, food and running water are continuing to increase the death toll.

What happened and current rescue efforts:

Currently, the European Union (EU) and 31 countries, including the United States, China, Russia and Germany, have offered assistance. Their aid consists of monetary donations, trained search teams, medical supplies, military equipment and teams of rescue dogs.

However, some citizens of Turkey and Syria are beginning to lose hope as rescue efforts dwindle. On Monday, Feb. 13, United Nations Aid Chief Martins Griffiths announced that the rescue phase was “coming to a close.” Many rescue groups have stated that they are running out of food and supplies to give, and are planning to leave the regions soon.

There have been records of people, including many young children and elderly, being pulled out alive from collapsed buildings days after the initial earthquake.

Why does it matter:

These earthquakes have significantly worsened the already dire situations in both Turkey and Syria.

Since 2011, Syria has been entrenched in a deadly civil war. Around 13 million Syrians have already been forcibly displaced, with few belongings, poor financial conditions and inadequate resources to rebuild homes or flee the country. However, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has approved humanitarian-aid deliveries, which has allowed many Syrian refugees to more easily flee the country.

In Turkey, there are already 1 million homeless people and a lack of temporary housing.

This natural disaster is also predicted to have a significant impact on foreign relations, as countries with previously tense relationships with the two impacted nations have stepped in to help.

What are other sources to look at?
● The Muslim Student Association (MSA) at Wayland High School is holding an earthquake relief fundraiser on Wed. 2/15 and Thu. 2/16 in the commons during lunch. They will be selling handmade keychains and embroidered pens from Pakistan. Half of their profits will be donated to the Turkey Response, and the other half of their profits will be donated to the Syria Response.
● The Red Cross’s page includes information describing their humanitarian work in Turkey and Syria, who to contact to get information about missing people and a donation link.
● A video of a newborn still attached to her mother being pulled from the rubble.
● An article breaking down trustworthy groups to donate to for earthquake relief efforts.