February 6, 2023 Turkey-Syria earthquake news

By Tara Subramaniam, Rhea Mogul, Adam Renton, Aditi Sangal, Leinz Vales, Elise Hammond, Maureen Chowdhury and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 0503 GMT (1303 HKT) February 7, 2023
121 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
9:47 p.m. ET, February 6, 2023

Japan sends disaster relief rescue team to Turkey

CNN’s Mayumi Maruyama in Hong Kong

Japan has sent the country’s Disaster Relief Rescue Team in response to the earthquake in Turkey, according to a Monday statement by Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Upon the request of the Government of Turkey, and in light of humanitarian perspective and Japan’s friendship relations with Turkey, Japan has decided to provide this emergency assistance to Turkey to meet its humanitarian needs,” the statement read.

The Disaster Relief Rescue Team departed for Turkey on Monday night to support search and rescue operations, the statement read.

9:50 p.m. ET, February 6, 2023

Death toll climbs to 4,372 after earthquake rocks Turkey and Syria

From Gul Tuysuz in Ankara

At least 4,372 deaths have been confirmed after a powerful magnitude 7.8 earthquake rocked Turkey and Syria early Monday.

Turkey's toll rose to 2,921 as of Tuesday morning, according to Yunus Sezer, Turkey’s head of disaster services.

A total of 15,834 injuries have been reported, Sezer said in a news conference in Ankara.

Sezer said he would provide a more comprehensive update at 6 a.m. local time (10 p.m. ET).

In Syria, 1,451 deaths and 3,531 injuries have been reported by officials.

10:08 p.m. ET, February 6, 2023

Los Angeles County Fire Department sends search and rescue team to Turkey

From CNN's Taylor Romine and Sara Smart

The Los Angeles County Fire Department is sending 78 members of their Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team to Turkey after the country experienced devastating earthquakes Monday, the department announced in a news release. 

At the request of the Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA), the fire department is sending the USAR team, known as USA-2, and an additional seven personnel members to assist operations, they said. 

The team will depart Monday evening and may be deployed for two weeks or longer, the department said. 

“This USAR team is the best of the best and will be instrumental in saving lives and rescuing people who continue to be stuck under rubble,” said Kathryn Barger, Los Angeles County fifth district supervisor, in a release.

The USAR team includes rescue specialists, physicians, K-9 search teams and structural engineers who have spent a lot of time training for these events, Los Angeles County Fire Chief Anthony Marrone said during a news conference Monday evening.  

“This team is highly skilled and elite in urban search and rescue and is specially trained to assist in rescue efforts, especially in earthquakes like the one that just struck central or southeast Turkey,” Marrone said. 

One of the team's biggest concerns is how they are going to be able to get to the areas in Turkey that need help after so much infrastructure collapsed during the quake, North Region Deputy Fire Chief Tom Ewald said. The United States Agency for International Development is currently working on those logistics, he added.  

The Los Angeles USAR team will be joined by the Virginia Task Force 1, which is sending a crew of 79 members and six dogs to Turkey, the team tweeted on Monday.

8:59 p.m. ET, February 6, 2023

Weather and scale of disaster make it hard to reach quake-affected regions, Turkish health minister says

From CNN’s Sahar Akbarzai 

The weather and the scale of the disaster are creating challenges for aid teams, according to Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, who spoke during a news conference carried out live on CNN Turk on Monday evening from Hatay Emergency Coordination Center.   

“The weather conditions and the scale of the disaster make it hard for our teams to reach the region,” Koca said, adding “our helicopters could not take off today due to weather conditions.”   

"Heavy snowstorms have also recently hit parts of Syria and Türkiye, with further sub-zero temperatures forecasted," UNICEF said in a statement released on Monday.   

All state institutions have been mobilized in the recovery effort, including the national police, municipal workers, the Disaster and Emergency Management Agency and the Gendarmerie, an armed general law enforcement organization part of Interior Ministry that maintains security and safety.   

At least 2,256 emergency health personnel workers have so far reached earthquake-affected provinces, the health minister said.   

At least 602 ambulances and two ambulance planes have been dispatched from neighboring cities. Also, 187 teams part of Turkey’s National Medical Rescue Team (UMKE) have also been dispatched. 

“We have moved teams from surrounding provinces to the region,” the minister said.   

Iskenderun State Hospital, a hospital in the city of Iskenderun, collapsed due to the earthquake.

“We are trying to save the medical workers and patients there,” Koca said. “These sorts of disasters can only be overcome with solidarity.”
8:22 p.m. ET, February 6, 2023

Thousands of homes likely destroyed following earthquake in Syria and Turkey, UNICEF says

From CNN’s Sahar Akbarzai and Ghazi Balkiz

Search and rescue efforts continue around the wreckage in Diyarbakir, Turkey on February 7.
Search and rescue efforts continue around the wreckage in Diyarbakir, Turkey on February 7. ((Photo by Aydin Arik/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

UNICEF says that thousands of homes have likely been destroyed following an earthquake in Turkey and Syria on Monday.

"Thousands of homes are likely to have been destroyed, displacing families and exposing them to the elements at a time of year when temperatures regularly drop below freezing and snow and freezing rain are common. Heavy snowstorms have also recently hit parts of Syria and Türkiye, with further sub-zero temperatures forecasted," UNICEF said in a statement.

At least 3,830 deaths have been confirmed after a powerful magnitude 7.8 earthquake rocked Turkey and Syria early Monday.  In Turkey alone, at least 5,606 buildings collapsed, according to Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Agency. There are reports of similar devastation in northern Syria.

It is also likely that hospitals and schools, along with other medical and education facilities, were "damaged or destroyed," UNICEF said.

UNICEF is working with the Turkish government and Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management on the "emerging needs linked to the wider humanitarian response," the statement said, adding that the group is also preparing to support efforts in Syria.

"Children in Syria continue to face one of the most complex humanitarian situations in the world. A worsening economic crisis, continued localized hostilities after more than a decade of grinding conflict, mass displacement and devastated public infrastructure have left two-thirds of the population in need of assistance... waterborne diseases pose another deadly threat to children and families affected," UNICEF said.

7:10 p.m. ET, February 6, 2023

South Korean president sends condolences to Turkey and Syria

From CNN's Yoonjung Seo

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol sent condolences to “the people of Turkiye and Syria” and offered to help Turkey.

“Korea sends our deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones,” he tweeted. “We stand ready to assist Turkiye, a brotherhood forged in blood during the Korean War, in any way possible."

7:17 p.m. ET, February 6, 2023

Biden tells Turkey’s president the US is ready to provide earthquake assistance

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

US President Joe Biden “reaffirmed” that the United States is ready to help Turkey in the aftermath of a recent earthquake and “expressed condolences on behalf of the American people" when he spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday, according to a readout of the call provided by the White House.

Biden said the US was ready to “provide any and all needed assistance to our NATO Ally Turkey in response to this tragedy,” according to the White House. “President Biden expressed condolences on behalf of the American people to those who were injured or lost loved ones in the earthquakes.” 

“He noted that U.S. teams are deploying quickly to support Turkish search and rescue efforts and coordinate other assistance that may be required by people affected by the earthquakes, including health services or basic relief items,” the readout added.

US Ambassador to Turkey Jeff Flake said Monday two US search and rescue units will be sent to Turkey to assist with search and rescue efforts.

US Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power said in a statement that these will be USAID Urban Search and Rescue teams from Fairfax County, Virginia, and Los Angeles County, California, Fire Departments.

Power said the agency has already deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team which is "assessing the situation, identifying priority humanitarian needs, and working to provide search and rescue," according to the statement.

The two additional USAID teams on the way will coordinate with authorities in Turkey and "other responding organizations to provide life-saving assistance," Power said in the statement.

7:05 p.m. ET, February 6, 2023

Doctors Without Borders provides aid for earthquake survivors in Syria

The medical organization Doctors Without Borders — also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) — responded to "overwhelming needs" following the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria, according to a statement from the organization.

"Following the powerful earthquakes that hit southern Turkey and northwestern Syria on February 6, 2023, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams working in northwestern Syria have mobilized with local partners to respond to the increasing needs in the area," the statement read.

The statement noted a staff member of MSF was found dead under rubble and others lost family members following the disaster.

“We are very shocked and saddened by the impact of this disaster on the thousands of people touched by it, including our colleagues and their families,” said Sebastien Gay, MSF head of mission in Syria. 

Gay said medical facilities are overwhelmed by impact and "medical personnel in northern Syria [are] working around the clock to respond to the huge numbers of wounded arriving to the facilities."

"[In] the first hours [of the disaster], our teams treated around 200 wounded and we received 160 casualties in the facilities and the clinics that we run or support in northern Idlib. Our ambulances are also deployed to assist [people]." he said.

“The needs are very high in northwestern Syria as this [earthquake] adds a dramatic layer for vulnerable [people] who are still struggling after many years of war,” Gay said. “The massive consequences of this disaster will require a [scaled up] international aid effort.” 

The statement also said the number of deaths and injuries are increasing by the hour.

"MSF remains in close contact with the local authorities in northwestern Syria and with the authorities in Turkey to extend our support where it’s needed. We are currently assessing the situation and needs in Idlib, northern Aleppo, and southern Turkey to scale up our response accordingly," the statement read.

9:29 p.m. ET, February 6, 2023

Here's what to know about the deadly earthquake that caused devastation in Turkey and Syria

From CNN staff

A man stands in front of a collapsed building in Osmaniye, Turkey.
A man stands in front of a collapsed building in Osmaniye, Turkey. (Dilara Senkaya/Reuters)

More than 3,800 people have died and thousands more were injured after a massive earthquake rocked Turkey and Syria on Monday morning. 

The magnitude 7.8 quake was one of the strongest to strike the area in more than a century. Amid severe aftershocks, Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD) called for international help.

Here's what to know:

  • The latest: At least 3,830 people have been killed and more than 15,000 injured in Turkey and Syria, according to officials. Following the initial quake, the US Geological Survey recorded at least 77 aftershocks, including a major one at 7.5 magnitude. Three of the aftershocks have measured 6.0 or greater.
  • Damage: At least 5,606 buildings collapsed in Turkey during and after the quake, according to Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Agency. There are reports of similar devastation in northern Syria. UN's Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria, El-Mostafa Benlamlih, told CNN many buildings collapsed – and more could still fall.

  • First-hand accounts: Eyewitnesses described "terrifying" conditions in northwest Syria. The quake left “entire families dead” and “survivors sleeping on the streets in the freezing cold,” they said. CNN journalist Eyad Kourdi, who was in Turkey, described the power of the earthquake as "biblical," saying, "The force felt like somebody trying to knock me over."
  • Challenges in Syria: More than 4 million people rely on humanitarian assistance in the region where the quake struck, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The majority are women and children. Along with the devastation from the earthquake, Syrian communities are battling an ongoing cholera outbreak amid a harsh winter with heavy rain and snow over the weekend, Search and rescue efforts have been hampered by a "lack of heavy equipment and machinery to clear the rubble," according to the UN's Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria, El-Mostafa Benlamlih. Much of the area is controlled by anti-government forces amid a bloody civil war that began in 2011.
  • International support: The European Union activated its crisis response mechanism in order to provide faster support to Turkey and Syria. The United States will send two search and rescue units to Turkey, ambassador Jeff Flake said. Palestinian civil defense and medical teams will be sent to Turkey and Syria to help in rescue operations, Palestinian Authority's Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said. Iraq has also said it will send aid to earthquake victims, according to the country's prime minister.
  • Russian assistance: Ten units of the Russian army with a total of more than 300 soldiers are involved in clearing debris and helping in search and rescue operations in Syria. Russia is the strongest foreign power operating in Syria, and Putin has long allied himself with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, throwing the full weight of the Russian military behind the Syrian Army. 
  • Archeological sites damaged: Several archeological sites in Syria were damaged by the quake, experts said. In Turkey, the tremor badly damaged Gaziantep Castle, a historic site and tourist attraction in southeastern Turkey.
  • How you can help: The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) says it is “launching immediate cash assistance” from its Disaster Response Emergency Fund to help relief efforts in both Turkey and Syria. CNN’s Impact Your World has gathered ways to help victims. You can read about that here.