Today marks six days since Monday February 6, when tragedy struck Turkey and Syria. Since then, both countries have been working around the clock to rescue people who are still under the wreckage of what was once a home.
At 4:17 (local time), at a depth of about 24 kilometres, the earth shook with a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in the south of the Turkish country, sowing destruction in a radius of about 500 kilometres. Nine hours later, after more than forty aftershocks, another large earthquake shook the area with a magnitude of 7.5. As a result, two entire countries were devastated and a search for hope began that continues to this day.
This is the strongest tremor recorded in Turkey since 1939, replacing the 1999 earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6. Experts explain that the high seismic activity in the area is due to the confluence of the Anatolian, Arabian and African tectonic plates under the Turkish soil.
So far, the figures for the tragedy stand at more than 24,200 lives lost in total and 82,000 injured. Added to this is the incalculable number of people who still remain under the ruins of the collapsed buildings, which account for up to two thirds of the total buildings in the city in places such as Kahramanmaras, the Turkish epicentre.
In the face of this situation, citizens have once again proved to be the country’s most important asset, working to save lives in a never-ending journey that began almost a week ago. Thanks to them, we have been able to find stories in both countries of the release of entire families from the rubble by volunteers and rescue teams. For example, yesterday, Spain’s own Military Emergency Unit deployed in Turkey managed to rescue alive Elif and Muslin, two children who had remained for five days under the remains of a building in the city of Nurdagui, in the province of Gaziantep. Shortly afterwards, the same unit managed to find their mother, Leyla, who is now with her two children.
Both Turkey and Syria have appealed for international help to speed up rescue and assistance efforts by sending troops and resources. At the same time, the need to restore the electricity and fuel supply in order to alleviate the effects of winter in an area where temperatures are registering negative figures on a daily basis has been emphasized.
From Conexión, Creando Puentes we want to extend our warmest wishes to all our students who have seen their families and homes hit by the earthquake. Our hearts and hopes are with you.
11th February 2023
[translated from Spanish]
UPDATES: the number of victims as of February 13, 2023 exceeds 37,000 according to AlJazeera.