February 7, 2023 Turkey-Syria earthquake news

By Tara Subramaniam, Sana Noor Haq, Christian Edwards, Ed Upright, Aditi Sangal, Leinz Vales, Mike Hayes, Tori B. Powell and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 12:03 a.m. ET, February 8, 2023
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12:24 a.m. ET, February 7, 2023

Monday's earthquake is the most powerful recorded in Turkey since 1939, UN says

From CNN’s Sahar Akbarzai

A view of debris in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, on February 6.
A view of debris in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, on February 6. (Adsiz Gunebakan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The United Nations said the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck southern Turkey early Monday was the county's most powerful quake in more than 80 years.

“This is Türkiye's most powerful earthquake recorded since 1939," a situational report released Monday by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said.

UNOCHA said emergency response teams from the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC), the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) and World Health Organization's Emergency Medical Teams (EMT) are being mobilized to Turkey to assist in the humanitarian response. 

"The UN and partners are closely monitoring the situation on the ground and are looking to mobilize emergency funds in the region," the report said. 

11:48 p.m. ET, February 6, 2023

Boy, 14, rescued from rubble in Turkey a day after deadly earthquake

From CNN's Beroj Siya

A 14-year-old boy was rescued from the rubble in the city of Kahramanmaras more than 24 hours after a powerful earthquake struck the region, according to CNN affiliate CNN Turk.

His rescue, broadcasted live on CNN Turk, showed emergency teams carrying the boy on a stretcher through crowds to an ambulance.

"Finally! He has been rescued," a CNN Turk reporter said from the scene, calling it a "miracle."

The boy has been transferred to hospital, the reporter said. His condition is not known.

12:33 a.m. ET, February 7, 2023

There have been 100 aftershocks so far in Turkey, USGS says

From CNN's Taylor Ward

An aerial view of debris as rescue workers conduct search and rescue operations on a collapsed building in Osmaniye, Turkey on February 6.
An aerial view of debris as rescue workers conduct search and rescue operations on a collapsed building in Osmaniye, Turkey on February 6. (Muzaffer Cagliyaner/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

At least 100 aftershocks measuring 4.0 or greater have occurred since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey on Monday morning local time, according to the United States Geological Survey.

As the time from the original earthquake extends, the frequency and magnitude of the aftershocks tend to decrease. However, 5.0 to 6.0-plus aftershocks are still likely to occur and bring a risk of additional damage to structures that are compromised from the original earthquake. This brings a continued threat to rescue teams and survivors.

The aftershocks stretch for more than 300 kilometers (186 miles) along the fault zone that ruptured in southern Turkey, oriented from southwest to northeast and stretching from the border with Syria up through the province of Malatya.

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

Aid planes from Iraq and Iran land in Syria

From CNN's Ruba Alhenawi and Mitchell McCluskey

Planes carrying aid shipments from Iraq and Iran arrived at Damascus International Airport after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake devastated Turkey and Syria, Syrian state media SANA reported.

The Iranian aid arrived on Monday and the Iraqi aid was delivered early Tuesday morning local time, SANA reported.

Mahdi Ghanem, an official at the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told SANA that each plane carried about 70 tons of food, medical supplies, blankets and necessary supplies.

On Monday, Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed S. Al-Sudani announced they would send a shipment of emergency medical supplies, first aid and shelter supplies as well as medicine and fuel.

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad he would dispatch humanitarian aid to the area, Iranian state media IRNA reported.

12:38 a.m. ET, February 7, 2023

Death toll rises to more than 4,300 after earthquake rocks Turkey and Syria

From CNN's From Gul Tuysuz in Ankara, Turkey

People and rescue teams try to reach trapped residents inside collapsed buildings in Adana, Turkey, on February 6.
People and rescue teams try to reach trapped residents inside collapsed buildings in Adana, Turkey, on February 6. (IHA agency/AP)

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.

9:20 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 

Poor weather and the scale of the disaster are creating challenges for aid teams, according to Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.

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

Parts of southern Turkey and northern Syria have been hit by heavy snowstorms in recent days, with further sub-zero temperatures forecast.

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 the Interior Ministry.   

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.”
8:20 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

UNICEF says 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.
10:22 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 4,300 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: More than 4,300 people have been killed and more than 19,000 injured in Turkey and Syria, according to officials. Following the initial quake, the US Geological Survey recorded at least 100 aftershocks, including a major one at 7.5 magnitude.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
8:19 p.m. ET, February 6, 2023

2 US search and rescue units heading to Turkey, ambassador says

From CNN's Kylie Atwood

Two search and rescue units from the United States will be sent to Turkey to assist with the aftermath of the earthquake, US Ambassador to Turkey Jeff Flake told CNN on Monday.

“There will be two teams from the US. One from Fairfax County and another from Los Angeles — what they call these heavy units, each with I think 70 personnel with search dogs as well as paramedics,” Flake said. “That’s what we are told is needed.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken also spoke with his Turkish counterpart on Monday, the State Department said.

“Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister [Mevlüt] Çavuşoğlu discussed ways the United States and our partners could best assist. Secretary Blinken confirmed our initial assistance response was already underway and pledged to do all that we can in coordination with Türkiye to assist the victims of the earthquake in both Türkiye and Syria,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said. 

In terms of getting support into Syria, Flake noted there are a number of humanitarian and church groups the US has worked with in the country. He said it makes it “doubly difficult” that there is no functioning government in Syria. 

Flake suggested that Americans direct donations through the Red Cross, non-profits and church groups if they want to help.