Earthquake in Turkey and Syria: 9 February

GAZIANTEP, Turkey / HOLEB, Syria — A devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria in the early hours on Monday leaving wide-spread devastation and killing thousands. Many people are still believed to be trapped under the rubble and rescue efforts are ongoing. The earthquake’s epicenter was in Kahramanmaras near Gaziantep, Turkey, and was felt as far as Cyprus, Beirut, and Erbil, Iraq.

Below is SyriacPress earthquake coverage for 9 February. You can find our latest coverage here.

More Than Three Days After Earthquake, People Being Pulled from Rubble Alive

18:46 CET — On Thursday, more than three days after the earthquake that devastated areas of Turkey and Syria, miraculous rescues were being reported.

A 21-year-old man was rescued alive from a collapsed building in Hatay.

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.

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

In Kahramanmaras, Turkey, the epicenter of the earthquake, a woman and her six-year-old daughter were safely retrieved from the wreckage of a fallen building. The German aid group, @fire, joined forces with the British aid group, SARAID, to find the pair, who were found buried in the rubble at 5 a.m. 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 was deemed to be a time-sensitive mission by @fire, as the two were in peril of succumbing to hypothermia due to the sub-zero temperatures.

The mother and daughter were rescued just after midnight on Thursday, said @fire.

A family of three, two brothers and their mother, were saved from a separate collapsed building in Kahramanmaras after being trapped for 78 hours.

After the two boys were extracted from the debris, their mother, 36-year-old Hatice İğde, was rescued. The boys were identified as Mehmet Naim İğde and Melih Igde by Kanal D.

The rescue operation began at 10 p.m. local time on Wednesday night and the team heard a voice coming from the rubble at 11 p.m. The rescue personnel worked through the night to save the family.

A boy is carried from the rubble in a blanket 78 hours after the earthquake hit in Kahramanmaras, Turkey. (Image: Kanal D / CNN Turk)

Death Toll from Earthquake in Turkey and Syria Approaches 20,000

17:22 CET — According to authorities, the death toll from the earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria has climbed passed 19,700. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that the number of dead in the country is over 16,500 with another 66,000 people injured.

In Syria, the reported numbers are over 3,150 people dead and another 5,150 injured. Given the difficulties in rescue operations in a region with little resources and international access.

The total number of people injured in both countries is estimated to be over 70,000.

Syrian civilians work to save people trapped beneath a destroyed building in Edleb (Idlib), Syria, on 6 February 2023. (Image: Anas Alkharboutli / Getty Images)

Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Mor Aphrem II Visits Communities and People Affected by Earthquake

15:57 CET — Syriac Orthodox Patriach Mor Aphrem II continues his visits to the communities and people affected by the 6 February earthquake.

On Wednesday, he visited Saint Aphrem Church in the Sulaymaniyeh neighborhood of Holeb (Aleppo), Syria. There, he prayed for a quick recovery of the injured and for all those affected by the earthquake. The Patriarch also visited people seeking shelter in the church, which serves as the seat of the bishopric.

On Thursday he visited the Syriac Hayy al Suryan neighborhood of Holeb where he prayed in the Saint Sergius Church and visited the injured at Al-Razi General Hospital.

Archbishop Kassis then led the Patriarch on a tour of the Gaziziye neighborhood to inspect the damage caused by the earthquake.

They also visited the Muslim Masarqa neighborhood to inspect damage there.

Death Toll in Turkey and Syria from Earthquake Surpasses 17,000; Over 28,000 People Evacuated from Epicenter of Earthquake

14:10 CET — The earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday has claimed at least 17,000 lives. Government officials in Turkey put the official count in the country over 14,000. In Syria, the death toll is currently over 3,000.

With the difficulties in rescue and recovery operations, the number of deaths in both countries will inevitably climb. The World Health Organization (WHO) said earlier this week that the number of dead could exceed 20,000. It also estimates that up to 23 million people may be impacted by the disaster.

At least 28,000 people have been relocated from Kahramanmaras, the epicenter of the earthquake, according to Turkey’s disaster management agency, AFAD. Rescue operations across the region are ongoing, with teams from around the world taking part in the efforts.

Families of victims stand as rescue officials search among the rubble of collapsed buildings in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, on 9 February. (Image: Ozan Kose / AFP)