Earthquake Kills Thousands

Nearly 20,000 deaths observed after a powerful earthquake struck Turkey and Syria

At 4:17 in the morning, the countries of Lebanon, Greece, Syria, Cyprus, Israel, Palestine Territories, and Turkey were struck with a powerful earthquake amassing a magnitude of 7.8. Following a second earthquake of a similar size that happened nine hours later, Turkey and Syria were impacted particularly hard. To put it into perspective, Renato Solidum, the director of the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology, described an earthquake with a magnitude of 7 as “An energy equivalent to around 32 Hiroshima atomic bombs.” As of recently, nearly 20,000 deaths have been observed in Turkey and Syria, and tens of thousands have sustained injuries. 

Image via Griffin Sanford

In Turkey, the earthquake quickly began conversations about the competency of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as Turkish citizens look towards his office to fix the over one billion dollars in damages to their homes, places of work, and historical monuments. Erdogan has been called out by many Western powers for his push towards an autocracy (one person with absolute power) and his corrupt governmental policies. If he is thrown out of office, Turkey would be able to transition into a period of democratization.

In Syria, the effort to solve the crisis has been stuck at a standstill. Syria’s continuing wars have weakened regional ties and made it more challenging to deliver relief to those in need. Higher Syrian officials have become angry with the support Turkey has been receiving as they feel their country is being neglected.

Ines Machaz, an LJHS student, when asked her thoughts on the impact the earthquake had on Syria, she said, “It’s just saddening that many of those people cannot receive the help they need.” Humanitarian organizations and the United Nations have both asked for more roads to be open between the two countries, but with their history of animosity towards each other, it’s unclear if that will ever come to fruition.