(USNewsMag.com) – In the early hours of Monday, February 6th, Syria and Turkey were struck by a massive earthquake.
The violent shaking registered at 7.8 on the Richter Scale, an extremely powerful and violent magnitude. Hours later, the same vicinity was struck by another quake with a magnitude of 7.5. The epicenter of the second earthquake was over 60 miles from the first. Since the initial shock, there have been a multitude of powerful aftershocks in the region which further threatened the structural integrity of buildings.
The death toll and damage reports have continued to rise as the countries struggle to dig themselves out of the rubble. Videos show mid-rise multi-family housing structures collapsing after the quake. Many of the structures collapsed from the bottom up resulting in what is described as “pancaking,” where the floors collapse down on top of each other. This type of structural failure was common in the 2010 Haiti earthquake which took the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
Several days after the disaster the preliminary death toll reached 20,000 between Turkey and Syria. That number is expected to continue to rise. Far more people were injured, straining the limited resources of the region.
Nations worldwide have sent search and rescue teams to the area in a desperate attempt to save as many people as possible from the rubble. The damage is abnormally widespread, reminiscent to the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, which makes rescue and aid efforts even more difficult.
Due to the timing of the first quake, most residents were at home and sleeping. It is expected that most people who lived on lower floors of collapsed buildings perished when upper floors crumbled down on top of them. While international aid has been organized for Turkey, some fear that Syria will not receive the same level of assistance due to sanctions that were imposed by the West. One of the thousands of structures that were destroyed by the quakes was an ancient Roman/Byzantine castle in Gaziantep Turkey. The building was well over 2,000-years-old and according to images shared online, it has now been reduced to rubble.
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