On Monday 6th February 2023, southeast Turkiye was hit by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake at 04:17 local time, the most powerful to strike the country since 1939. The epicentre was near Ataler in Gaziantep Province. Many buildings were destroyed and it is feared that thousands have been trapped in the rubble.
As authorities were responding, a second 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck just hours later at 13:30 local time with an epicentre at Ekinozu, also near Gaziantep.
The impact was severe in southern Turkiye and northwest Syria around Idlib. Thousands of rescue workers are on the scene and as they search through the rubble, the impact is becoming clearer. At this stage, 5,021 fatalities have been confirmed and the number of injuries is over 21,000. The WHO suggests that 23 million people in the region have been impacted, and for the displaced communities in Syria who were already facing a cholera outbreak, this has compounded their pain.
Humanity First previously responded to the Izmir earthquake in 1999, and for over a decade, has been assisting Syrian refugees in the Gaziantep region of Turkey. Our team is assessing needs through the UN and local authorities, and is planning for emergency medical, shelter and food assistance as needed. The response is also likely to be hampered by the harsh winter weather conditions with heavy rain and snow impacting roads and those in temporary shelter.