February 9, 2023 Turkey-Syria earthquake news

By Tara Subramaniam, Sana Noor Haq, Ed Upright, Adrienne Vogt, Matt Meyer, Maureen Chowdhury, Tori B. Powell and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 0647 GMT (1447 HKT) February 10, 2023
35 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
1:01 p.m. ET, February 9, 2023

UK pledges additional $3.64 million in funding to White Helmets for search and rescue efforts in Syria

From CNN's Lauren Kent

The United Kingdom pledged an additional 3 million pounds ($3.64 million) in funding to the White Helmets to support rescue and emergency relief operations in northwest Syria, according to a statement on Thursday.

Britain has so far given a total of 3.8 million pounds ($4.62 million) to the White Helmets in the wake of the earthquake. 

"Given the magnitude of the earthquakes and difficulties in accessing affected areas in northwest Syria, the UK will be providing the White Helmets with additional funding to aid their major search-and-rescue operations. Over 2,500 White Helmets volunteers are involved in the response across some 40 communities in northwest Syria," the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said. 

About the White Helmets: The Syria Civil Defence, known around the world as the White Helmets, is a volunteer organization of humanitarian responders operating in parts of Syria and Turkey amid the conflict in Syria. The delivery of urgent supplies to quake-hit areas of northern Syria has been complicated by a long-running civil war between opposition forces and the Syrian government, led by President Bashar al-Assad, who is accused of killing his own people.

The UK funding will support projects such as "assessing building safety, reopening roads and reconnecting utilities," the foreign office said. 

"The White Helmets are playing a critical and life-saving role in Syria in the most desperate circumstances following the earthquakes," Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, British Minister of State for the Middle East said in the statement. "Our collective priority now is to ensure life-saving assistance is given to those most in need. The White Helmets are best placed to deliver this in North West Syria."

12:48 p.m. ET, February 9, 2023

UN chief "very happy" about possibility of delivering aid through non-UN approved Turkey-Syria crossings

From CNN’s Richard Roth in New York and Jessie Gretener in London

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said he is open to the idea of delivering aid to Syria via additional border crossings, other than the Bab al-Hawa crossing — the only humanitarian aid corridor approved by the United Nations between Turkey and rebel-held areas of northern Syria.

“I would be of course very happy if the Security Council could reach a consensus to allow for more crossings to be used, as we need also to increase our capacity to deliver on crossline operations into Idlib from Damascus," Guterres said. “Many non-UN relief agencies are already delivering through other crossings."

On Tuesday, the UN said the Bab al-Hawa crossing was “actually intact,” but the road leading to the crossing had been damaged by Monday’s earthquake, hampering relief efforts.

The first United Nations convoy, comprised of six trucks, crossed into Northern Syria via the Bab al-Hawa crossing on Thursday, according to Guterres. He said the “United Nations has done its best to race to respond,” adding that “more help is on the way, but much more, much more is needed.”

“The earthquake struck as the humanitarian crisis in northwest Syria was already worsening, with needs at their highest level since the conflict began,” Guterres said, describing the dire need to get urgent humanitarian aid into Syria. “We are sadly aware that we haven’t yet seen the full extent of the damage and of the humanitarian crisis unfolding before our eyes.”

Guterres said the UN would launch a Flash Appeal for donor support for Syria early next week. He added that it has already released $25 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Fund for Syria, and UN agencies and international and national NGOs are assessing their initial funding requirements over the next three months.

“These resources will be used by the humanitarian community for critical aid: shelter, health, nutrition, water, sanitation, hygiene, education, protection and psychosocial support services,” Guterres explained.

Guterres also said that Martin Griffiths, the United Nations under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, is already in Turkey to assess areas affected by the earthquake. Griffiths will also visit Gaziantep, Aleppo, and Damascus to assess aid needs.

12:30 p.m. ET, February 9, 2023

Death toll from Turkey-Syria earthquakes nears 20,000

From CNN's Hande Atay Alam, Celine Alkhaldi and Mostafa Salem

Bodies of earthquake victims are seen outside a hospital in Elbistan, Turkey, on Thursday.
Bodies of earthquake victims are seen outside a hospital in Elbistan, Turkey, on Thursday. (Francisco Seco/AP)

The death toll from the devastating earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria is now at least 19,863, according to authorities.

In Turkey, the death toll has risen to at least 16,546, with 66,132 others reported injured, according to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday.

The total number of deaths in Syria climbs to at least 3,317, including 1,970 in rebel-held areas in the northwest, according to the White Helmets civil defense group. Another 1,347 deaths have been reported in government-controlled parts of Syria, according to Syrian state media.

The total number of injured people in Syria across all affected territories rose to 5,245 (2,295 in government-controlled and 2,950 in rebel-held areas).

At least 71,377 people have been injured in Syria and Turkey, according to figures from the Turkish government, the White Helmets and Syrian state media.

1:15 p.m. ET, February 9, 2023

Turkey closes universities until further notice

From CNN's Isil Sariyuce and Hande Atay Alam 

Universities in Turkey will not open until further notice due to the earthquake that struck 10 provinces, according to a statement from Turkey's Higher Education Council.

It would be difficult for students from earthquake-stricken regions who are attending schools in other regions to focus on their studies, the statement said, as they have relatives that have been directly affected by the disaster or are participating in search and rescue activities.  

Turkey's Education Minister Mahmut Ozer also announced that schools nationwide will be closed until Feb. 20

"Tens of thousands of our teachers are in the field. Therefore, in order not to disrupt this process, we are extending the winter break one more week to Feb. 20, which was before until Feb. 13 in 71 provinces in Turkey," Ozer said in a video on his Twitter account.  
11:06 a.m. ET, February 9, 2023

Death toll from earthquakes in Turkey and Syria climbs to more than 19,700

From CNN's Hande Atay Alam and Celine Alkhaldi

The destruction in Hatay, Turkey, is seen from above on Thursday.
The destruction in Hatay, Turkey, is seen from above on Thursday. (IHA via AP)

The death toll from the devastating earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria is now at least 19,738, according to authorities.

In Turkey, the death toll has risen to at least 16,546, with 66,132 others reported injured, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.

The total number of deaths in Syria climbed to at least 3,192 — including 1,930 in rebel-held areas in the northwest, according to the White Helmets civil defense group — and 1,262 deaths in government-controlled parts of Syria, according to Syrian state media. 

The total number of injured people in Syria across all affected territories rose to 5,158, with 2,258 in government-controlled and 2,900 in the rebel-held areas.

At least 71,290 people have been injured in Syria and Turkey, according to figures from the Turkish government, the White Helmets and Syrian state media.

11:01 a.m. ET, February 9, 2023

France pledges nearly $13 million in emergency aid to Syrian people impacted by earthquake

From CNN's Dalal Mawad in Paris 

Syrian soldiers look while rescuers use heavy machinery to sift through the rubble of a collapsed building in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria, searching for victims and survivors after the earthquake on February 9.
Syrian soldiers look while rescuers use heavy machinery to sift through the rubble of a collapsed building in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria, searching for victims and survivors after the earthquake on February 9. (-/AFP/Getty Images)

France on Thursday pledged to give 12 million euros ($12.92 million) to Syrians impacted by the devastating earthquake that hit Syria and Turkey on Monday, according to a foreign ministry statement.

The aid will be channeled through the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations “working directly with affected populations in all of the areas struck by the earthquake,” the statement said.

The pledge would include 5 million euros ($5.38 million) to the United Nations and another 5 million euros for French and international nongovernmental organizations “working on emergency responses in the health, shelter, water, hygiene and sanitation sectors.”

The foreign ministry said the remaining 2 million euros are “being considered” for food aid.

Some context: Many Western nations have refused to send aid directly to the Syrian regime, which is under sanctions

A United Nations aid convoy crossed from Turkey into northwestern Syria on Thursday for the first time since the earthquake hit. The convoy, made up of six trucks carrying shelter items and Non-Food Items (NFI), crossed through the Bab Al Hawa border crossing, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

11:06 a.m. ET, February 9, 2023

21-year-old rescued from rubble in Turkey after more than 3 days

From CNN's Isil Sariyuce and Hande Atay Alam 

Fuat Camber is helped by rescuers after being pulled from the rubble.
Fuat Camber is helped by rescuers after being pulled from the rubble. (Antalya Fire Department)

A 21-year-old man was rescued alive from a collapsed building in Hatay Thursday, 84 hours after a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria early Monday.

Antalya Metropolitan Municipality Fire Department said in a statement that Fuat Camber was taken directly to a hospital after he was pulled from the rubble.

The number of people rescued by Antalya Metropolitan Firefighters in Hatay's General Sukru Kanatli district has reached six today, its statement said. 

Camber is pulled from the rubble.
Camber is pulled from the rubble. (Antalya Fire Department)

6:56 p.m. ET, February 9, 2023

Mom and 6-year-old child rescued from collapsed building in hard-hit Turkish city

From CNN’s Allegra Goodwin

A mother and her 6-year-old daughter were rescued alive from a collapsed house in the Turkish city of Kahramanmaraş Thursday, 68 hours after the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday. 

German aid organization @fire, working alongside British aid organization SARAID, said in a statement that the mother and child were located in the rubble of the collapsed building around 5 a.m. local time on Wednesday. 

“For nearly 20 hours, disaster relief workers worked their way through the rubble. Using heavy equipment and manual labor, the task was to create a tunnel through the rubble in order to be able to rescue the mother and child,” according to the statement. 

The rescue mission was “a race against time,” @fire added, noting that the two were “in danger of freezing to death” amid sub-zero temperatures. 

The pair was rescued just after midnight on Thursday, according to the aid organization. 

Watch video of the rescue:

10:42 a.m. ET, February 9, 2023

Hundreds of bodies were delivered across Turkey-Syrian border before a UN convoy of aid arrived on Thursday

From CNN's Raja Razek, Rhea Mogul and Teele Rebane

Relatives surround a truck carrying bodies of Syrians killed in an earthquake in Turkey, upon their arrival by trucks through the border crossing of Bab al-Hawa on February 7.
Relatives surround a truck carrying bodies of Syrians killed in an earthquake in Turkey, upon their arrival by trucks through the border crossing of Bab al-Hawa on February 7. (Muhammad Haj Kadour/AFP/Getty Images)

A United Nations aid convoy, made up of six trucks carrying shelter items and Non Food Items (NFI), crossed from Turkey into northwest Syria Thursday through the Bab Al Hawa crossing — the only humanitarian aid corridor between Turkey and rebel-held areas of northern Syria.

The delivery ended a three-day period during which no aid arrived – just 300 bodies, according to the administration that controls the only access point between the two countries.

“How are roads okay for cars carrying bodies, but not for aid?” Mazen Alloush, Bab al-Hawa’s frustrated spokesperson had asked CNN.

A top aid official told CNN earlier that efforts to help people in quake-stricken regions of Syria have been “incredibly difficult,” because passage entries along the border were destroyed due to the disaster.

The situation in Syria is starkly different to Turkey, where 70 countries and 14 international organizations have promptly offered teams of rescuers, donations and aid.

The delivery of urgent supplies to quake-hit areas of northern Syria has been complicated by a long-running civil war between opposition forces and the Syrian government, led by President Bashar al-Assad, who is accused of killing his own people. Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad says any aid it receives must go through the capital Damascus.

That leaves rebel-held areas reliant on aid groups including the UN, where millions were already suffering from the effects of extreme poverty and a cholera outbreak when the quake hit.

At the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, protesters hold signs asking why only bodies are being allowed through. The bodies belong to Syrian refugees who sought safety in Turkey and are now being sent back to be buried on home soil.

Meanwhile, “Syrians don’t know where their next meal comes from. When we say meal, it’s not about vegetables, not about meat… it’s about simple bread,” said Moutaz Adham, Oxfam’s country director for Syria.