As the frantic search for survivors from two powerful earthquakes and a series of violent aftershocks continued on Tuesday, the death toll surpassed 7,200 people across Turkey and Syria.
More than 6,000 buildings were destroyed by the temblors. More than 24,000 rescue workers from around the globe were searching through mammoth piles of debris in Turkey alone.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that we are facing one of the biggest disasters in the history of the Turkish Republic.
Despite the overwhelming tragedy, small victories were being achieved. In Kahramanmaras, rescuers freed Onur Dobuoglu, 25, who had been trapped for 30 hours. Their foot and arms of Dobuoglu were fractured, so he was transported by ambulance to the hospital.
Turgut Dolanbay, a member of the rescue team, told the Turkish Anadolu News Agency that the team focused on the site after hearing Dobuoglu call out. Sefa Gedik hugged rescuers after reuniting with his nephew.
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“May Allah help all of us, and may all of us be saved,” Gedik said.
Quakes in California are similar to those in Turkey
Regarding earthquakes, California and Turkey are not significantly different, except that they should be more frequent in California, says Robert Muir-Wood, chief research officer at Moody’s RMS. It is common for Turkish earthquakes to be large, mainly “strike-slip and on a broad plate boundary.” Faults that move horizontally are called strike-slip faults.
In Turkey, earthquake residential insurance penetration is higher than in California, but building code compliance is better there, Muir-Wood said.
Survivors are freed from rubble 30 hours after the collapse
The Daily Sabah reported that a 16-year-old girl was rescued after spending nearly 22 hours trapped under the debris of a five-story building. Nearly 30 hours after the 7.7 magnitude quake, five more survivors were found in downtown Antakya. In addition to digging out four people, rescue teams uncovered two other wreckages nearby. Soon after, a mother and her two daughters were extricated alive from under a building.
Turkey declares 3-month state of emergency
A state of emergency has been declared in 10 southern provinces by Erdogan for three months. As the country observes seven days of national mourning, flags were lowered to half-staff. There are 85 million people living in the country, but 13 million have been affected by the disaster.
“Our relief is that more than 8,000 citizens have been rescued,” Erdogan said.
Homelessness affects thousands
There were tens of thousands of people who sought shelter in sports centers or fair halls in Turkey’s Hatay province. Others spent the night outside, huddled in blankets around fires. The Turkish city of Gaziantep, a provincial capital about 20 miles from the epicenter, had shopping malls, stadiums, mosques, and community centers set up for refugees.
Syrian territory is divided between government-controlled territory and the last opposition-held enclave, surrounded by Russian-backed government forces. Rescue workers reported that a strain on medical centers caused them to overflow with wounded patients. According to the Syrian American Medical Society, some buildings remained standing but were no longer structurally sound and had to be emptied.
“SAMS is receiving victims of the earthquake as they arrive, while also ensuring the well-being of its 1,700 staff members in Syria and 90 at the epicenter near Gaziantep,” said SAMS President, Dr. Amjad Rass.