The earthquake that rocked Turkey and Syria early Monday morning has killed more than 3,600 people, according to the latest numbers provided by officials, a significant jump from the 2,300 figure reported hours earlier.
At least 2,316 people were killed in Turkey, the country’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority reported, according to The Washington Post. The agency also said at least 13,000 people were injured and 3,471 buildings collapsed, while authorities in Syria reported at least 1,350 dead and 3,411 people injured, per NBC News.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.8 quake struck at 4:17 a.m. local time. Scores of aftershocks followed, authorities said. Hours later, a 7.5 magnitude quake struck more than 60 miles away. https://t.co/EXzuBKjsXR pic.twitter.com/vwZyD8hlX8
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) February 6, 2023
The earthquake, an estimated magnitude 7.8 event that hit before dawn, has been followed by a number of aftershocks. Rescue crews were sent to dig through the rubble of destroyed buildings looking for survivors or bodies of the dead.
Map locating the areas affected by 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Turkey and Syria#AFPgraphics @AFP pic.twitter.com/0J7uBe1zNO
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) February 6, 2023
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared seven days of national mourning, saying this was the worst disaster since the 1939 Erzincan earthquake that killed more than 30,000 people, USA Today reported. Officials warned that the death toll for this latest earthquake may get higher as searches continue.
The region is situated on major fault lines. In the area affected by the earthquake, the dire situation is compounded by the presence of millions of refugees displaced by years-long civil war in Syria who were taking refuge on both sides of Turkey and Syria’s border.
Leaders from around the world pledged to send assistance to help beleaguered local officials.
“Our teams are deploying quickly to begin to support Turkish search and rescue efforts and address the needs of those injured and displaced by the earthquake,” said President Joe Biden.
“My heart goes out to the people of [Turkey] and Syria in this hour of tragedy” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in a statement. “The United Nations is fully committed to supporting the response. Our teams are on the ground assessing the needs and providing assistance.”