Over 31,600 dead from powerful twin earthquakes in southern Türkiye

Massive tremors last week, centered in Kahramanmaras, impact more than 13M people across 10 provinces

Diyar Guldogan  | 13.02.2023 - Update : 14.02.2023
Over 31,600 dead from powerful twin earthquakes in southern Türkiye


At least 31,643 people were killed by two strong earthquakes that jolted southern Türkiye last week, the country's disaster agency said Monday.

The magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 earthquakes, centered in Kahramanmaras province, affected more than 13 million people across 10 provinces, which also included Hatay, Gaziantep, Adiyaman, Malatya, Adana, Diyarbakir, Kilis, Osmaniye and Sanliurfa.

Several countries in the region, including Syria and Lebanon, also felt the strong tremors that struck Türkiye in the space of less than 10 hours on Feb. 6.

Nearly 238,500 search and rescue personnel are currently working in the field, according to the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD).

More than 158,000 people have been evacuated from the quake-hit regions so far, AFAD said.

A total of 9,401 foreign personnel from 77 countries are currently working in the field, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Monday.

It also said that 99 countries have offered assistance so far and seven more countries are expected to send rescue teams.

Condolences have poured in from around the world expressing solidarity with Türkiye, with many countries sending rescue teams and aid.

Family tents set up for victims

Besides rescue teams, blankets, tents, food and psychological support teams, along with over 12,300 vehicles, including excavators, tractors and bulldozers, were also sent to affected areas.

Nearly 155,400 tents have been set up for the survivors, AFAD said.

​After the initial earthquake, an air aid corridor was established by the Turkish Armed Forces to deliver search and rescue teams to the region.

A large number of aircraft for transport, including A-400Ms, carried search and rescue teams and vehicles to the region. Ambulance planes are also using the air aid corridor.

Rescue and relief personnel and materials were sent to the region with 170 helicopters and 76 aircraft, AFAD said.

A total of 26 ships were also assigned to the region for personnel and material shipment and for evacuation.

In a press briefing, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said a Cabinet meeting will be held at the Presidential Complex in Ankara with the earthquakes and measures to take against such disasters on the agenda.

Noting that there is a special focus on Adiyaman, Hatay and Kahramanmaras provinces, Oktay said they aim to complete damage assessments within a week.

"Tent city installations have been completed at 257 locations. The infrastructure for establishing a 27,000 (unit) container city has also been completed," he added.

On Twitter, Turkish National Health Minister Fahrettin Koca provided the latest on the injured and said more than 19,300 quake victims are under treatment at hospitals across the country.

Noting that 3,636 of the injured are currently receiving treatment in intensive care units, Koca said that so far, 3,677 infants have been born since the moments of the earthquakes.

He also noted that over 145,700 health personnel are on the ground providing health services to those needed.

Separately, Turkish Family and Social Services Minister Derya Yanik gave a press briefing and said 369 children out of 1,362 unaccompanied children were handed over to their families once their families were identified and matched.

In a separate press briefing, Turkish Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change Minister Murat Kurum said 41,791 buildings in 10 provinces that were affected by the massive earthquakes have been identified to be demolished immediately or severely damaged.

Urging locals not to enter damaged buildings to withdraw their belongings without AFAD’s coordination, Kurum said they plan to finalize damage assessments on buildings within a week and begin construction at the latest by the end of the month.

Visiting quake-hit Diyarbakir to inspect relief efforts, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday that the earthquakes were "three times stronger and destructive" than the 1999 Marmara earthquake, which was recorded as the biggest disaster in Türkiye's history.

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