Extremely damaging M7.8 earthquake hits Turkey – Syria border region, leaving over 47 000 people dead

Turkey syria border region M7.8 earthquake february 6 2023 f

A powerful earthquake registered by the USGS as M7.8 hit the highly populated Turkey – Syria border region at 01:17 UTC (04:17 local time) on Monday, February 6, 2023. The agency is reporting a depth of 17.9 km (11.1 miles). EMSC reports M7.8 at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). Numerous moderate to very strong aftershocks were registered, including M6.7 at 01:28 and M7.5 at 10:24 UTC.

  • A Red alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses was issued
  • Thousands of people have been injured and many are still trapped under the rubble
  • Rescue operations are in progress
  • This is the strongest earthquake to hit Turkey since 1939 and the second-strongest since the Northern Anatolia M7.8-8.0 earthquake in 1668
  • As of February 10, this is the 6th deadliest earthquake in the world since 2002. On February 13, it became the 5th deadliest.

The epicenter was located about 26.2 km (16.3 miles) E of Nurdağı (population 12 827), 33.6 km (20.9 miles) WNW of Gaziantep (population 1 065 975), and 46.6 km (29 miles) NNW of Kahramanmaraş (population 376 045).

70 000 people are estimated to have felt violent shaking, 540 000 severe, 4 850 000 very strong 12 252 000 strong, and 21 316 000 moderate.

The USGS issued a Red alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. High casualties and extensive damage are probable and the disaster is likely widespread. Past red alerts have required a national or international response.

Estimated economic losses are 0-2% GDP of Turkey.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are extremely vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though some resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are unreinforced brick masonry and low-rise nonductile concrete frame with infill construction.

Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as landslides that might have contributed to losses.

According to reports received by 07:20 UTC, more than 500 people were killed — 284 in Turkey and 237 in Syria.

Thousands of people have been injured.

Dozens of people are still trapped under the rubble and the death toll is expected to rise.

This is the strongest quake to hit the Turkey – Syria border on record.

It is also the strongest earthquake to hit Turkey since the Erzincan M7.8 earthquake on December 27, 1939 (more than 33 000 fatalities and close to 100 000 injured), and the second strongest since the Northern Anatolia M7.8-8.0 earthquake on August 17, 1668 — the most powerful earthquake in Turkey’s recorded history (~8 000 fatalities).

Turkey syria border region M7.8 earthquake february 6 2023 bg
Image credit: TW/SAM, Google
Turkey syria border region M7.8 earthquake february 6 2023 bgz
Image credit: TW/SAM, Google


Thousands of buildings have been damaged or destroyed and rescue teams have been deployed to search for survivors under huge piles of rubble.

During a press conference held on Monday morning, Vice President Fuat Oktay said a total of 1 710 buildings collapsed.

There are fears the number of deaths will rise sharply in the hours ahead.

Türkiye’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) is reporting an M7.7 earthquake, centered in the Pazarcik district in Türkiye’s southern province of Kahramanmaras, at a depth of 7 km (4.3 miles).

Following a discussion with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, international assistance was called for the search and rescue through the ERCC (Emergency Response Coordination Centre), AFAD said in a statement.

The Gaziantep Castle, built more than 2 200 years, collapsed during the earthquake.

10:00 UTC

The death toll exceeded 1 000.

At least 912 people have died in Turkey and more than 2 400 people have been rescued from under the rubble, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

In Syria, at least 386 people died, including 239 mostly in the regions of Aleppo, Hama, Latakia and Tartus, Syrian state TV reported.

10:24 UTC

A powerful aftershock with a preliminary magnitude of M7.7 hit the same region at 10:24 UTC. EMSC is reporting a depth of 2 km (1.2 miles).

11:05 UTC

The number of fatalities in Syria rose to 476, bringing the total death toll to 1 388.

12:11 UTC.

The number of fatalities in Turkey rose to 1 014 and the number of injured to 5 385. In Syria, the death toll is now at 592, and the number of injured people is at 1 089.

The following video shows the runway at Hatay Airport that tore open during the quake.

17:00 UTC

More than 2 300 people have been killed, as of 17:00 UTC. At least 1 498 in Turkey and 820 in Syria.

23:27 UTC

The death toll reached 3 452.

According to the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD), at least 2 316 people have died and several thousand have been injured in Turkey, and at least 5 606 buildings have collapsed.

In neighboring Syria, the Syrian State News Agency SANA reports that at least 1 136 people have passed away, with 656 of those deaths occurring in government-controlled areas such as Aleppo, Hama, Latakia, and Tartus.

The “White Helmets” group, officially known as the Syria Civil Defense, reported 480 deaths in opposition-controlled areas.

07:00 UTC, February 7

We are sad to report that the death toll has surpassed 4 300.

At least 2 921 people have lost their lives and over 20 000 others have been injured in Turkey, while in Syria the death toll has reached 1 451 — 711 in government-controlled areas, with the majority taking place in the regions of Aleppo, Hama, Latakia, and Tartus, and 740 in opposition-controlled areas near the border with Turkey.

The number of destroyed buildings in Turkey surpassed 2 830.

WHO said the death toll is likely to increase as much as 8 times.

turkey syria border region earthquakes february 6 and 7 2023 map with epicenters
Earthquakes registered by the USGS from 01:17 UTC n February 6 to 07:11 UTC on February 7, 2023. Credit: TW/SAM, Google

11:30 UTC

Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay said 3 432 people were killed in the country and 21 103 others were injured following 2 major earthquakes on February 6 and more than 185 aftershocks.

As of Tuesday morning, February 7, more than 8 000 citizens have been rescued, Oktay noted.

There are currently no updates on the number of fatalities in Syria.

Turkey’s energy infrastructure has also been damaged, and videos have emerged showing large fires in southern Turkey, BBC reported. Social media users claimed they were caused by damage to gas pipelines.

Turkey’s energy minister Fatih Donmez confirmed there had been serious damage to the infrastructure, but did not mention the explosions.

07:20 UTC, February 8

The death toll in Turkey and Syria rose to at least 8 764 on Wednesday morning, February 8.

In Turkey, 6 234 deaths have been reported and 34 810 people have been injured.

In Syria, 2 530 fatalities have been confirmed in both government-controlled areas and rebel-held regions, with 4 654 injuries reported.

The figures are expected to continue rising, especially in Syria, with many people still trapped under the rubble.

12:35 UTC, February 9

The number of fatalities increased over the past day and has now surpassed 15 000.

The death toll in Turkey has significantly increased over the last few hours, now standing at 12 391. In Syria, the number of deaths has risen to at least 2 992. In rebel-held areas in the northwest, 1 730 people have died, while an additional 1 262 deaths have been reported in government-controlled areas. These figures come from the Disaster and Emergency Management Agency in Turkey and the “White Helmets” civil defense group in Syria.

Freezing weather conditions are further endangering survivors and complicating rescue efforts.

The World Health Organization estimates up to 23 million people could be affected by the earthquake across both countries.

10:35 UTC, February 10

The death toll has surpassed 21 000 in Turkey and Syria. More than 80 000 people in both countries have been injured.

This quake is now the 6th deadliest earthquake since 2022.

While some people are still being pulled alive from the rubble four days after the quake, rescuers are now racing to pull out whoever they can.

15:00 UTC, February 12

According to the latest figures, the death toll across Turkey and Syria has reached 33 181.

In Turkey, the death toll is 29 605 and in Syria, it is 3 576, with 2 168 deaths in rebel-held areas of northwest Syria and 1 408 deaths in government-controlled parts of the country.

Sadly, the number of fatalities is expected to continue rising.

21:04 UTC, February 13

The number of casualties reached 37 357, with 31 643 in Turkey and 5 714 in Syria.

It’s now the deadliest earthquake in Turkey in more than 80 years and one of the deadliest in the country’s history.

It’s also the 5th deadliest earthquake in the world since 2002. The four deadliest earthquakes in the world since 2002 are 2010 M7.0 in Haiti with 222 570 fatalities, 2004 M9.1-9.3 in Indonesia with 165 708 fatalities, 2008 M7.9 in China with 87 476 fatalities, and 2005 M7.6 in Pakistan with 73 338 fatalities.

Turkish authorities have carried out a wave of arrests of property developers accused of “negligence” over building collapses.

15:32 UTC, February 15

More than a week has passed since the earthquake and its powerful aftershocks rocked Turkey and Syria, resulting in over 41 200 confirmed deaths, and with each passing day, stories of survival are becoming increasingly rare.

Delays in international aid distribution have led to worsening conditions for survivors in northern and northwestern Syria, where rebel-held areas have been affected by the ongoing conflict and a preexisting humanitarian crisis. With many lacking access to food, shelter, and medicine, those affected by the crisis are now struggling to survive amid freezing winter conditions.

In a press conference held at the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) headquarters in Ankara on February 14, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that reconstruction efforts will commence as soon as the search and rescue operations are completed and debris is cleared. The president assured that Turkey will continue to conduct search and rescue operations until the last survivor is found from the collapsed buildings.

Over 105 500 people in Turkey were rescued from the rubble. Aftershocks continue to occur, with a total of 3 107 recorded so far.

At present, 13 208 people are still receiving treatment in hospitals due to injuries sustained during the disaster.

There are 28 000 Turkish soldiers and 250 000 public personnel currently involved in search and rescue efforts in the earthquake zone.

According to Turkey’s Foreign Ministry, over 9 200 foreign personnel are currently assisting in the search and rescue operations in Turkey. Additionally, 100 countries have offered aid to Turkey, as the country continues to recover and provide relief to affected areas.

17:19 UTC, February 20

The death toll has reached 47 625.

There are now at least 41 156 deaths and 108 068 injured people across 11 most affected provinces in Turkey, including some casualties also in Elazığ and Batman provinces. At least 13.5 million people and 4 million buildings have been affected. About 345 000 apartments were decimated.

Over 6 469 people were killed, and more than 14 500 people were injured in Syria.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

m7.8 earthquake turkey-syria border region february 6 2023 usgs epe fv
m7.8 earthquake turkey-syria border region february 6 2023 usgs epet fv

Selected cities exposed

m7.8 earthquake turkey-syria border region february 6 2023 usgs sc fv

Regional seismicity

Turkey syria border region M7.8 earthquake february 6 2023 emsc rs

Featured image credit: TW/SAM, Google

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  1. Do you know why the Turkish earthquake was so devastating and caused many Casualties?

    It was a shallow earthquake, it occurs at depth of only 17.9 km and if you take its 7.8 magnitude into consideration, the impact of this earthquake on buildings has to be enormous. In fact, the destruction depends primarily on the depth of the earthquake rather than on the factor of the magnitude. The most powerful earthquake ever recorded was the great Chilean earthquake (Gran terremoto de Chile). It happened on 22 May 1960. It had magnitude between 9.4-9.6 and a depth of 33 Km, and also lasted for approximately 10 minutes. The resulting tsunamis affected southern Chile, Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, eastern New Zealand, southeast Australia, and the Aleutian Islands. But, the Casualties were only 1,000–6,000. Note, that the world’s deepest earthquake ever recorded occurred at 751 km below Earth’s surface. This astonishing quake was observed in 2015. However, this deep earthquake is clear evidence that current earthquake theory is baloney


    The denial of this truth by the United States Geological Survey has to do mainly with the lack of understanding what causes earth to change its magnetic field. That is because in physics reality there is a correlation between the increase of earthquakes-volcanic eruptions and the rapid changes of Earth’s magnetic field. The number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions increases enormously during the final phase of magnetic poles reversal, and this has happened many times during Earth’s long history. But, of course, current science does not have clue why a celestial body like our planet or star changes its magnetic field. Ask any scientist what causes the Sun or the Earth to change its magnetic field? Trust me. You will not get an answer to this very important question. However, the denial has also to do-to some extent-with the myth of man-made climate change. In fact, a number of peer-reviewed journal articles have already claimed that the excess emission of CO2 can cause earthquakes!!!!!!…Now, what more do you want?

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