Deadly Earthquakes have struck Türkiye (Turkey) and Syria

  • More than 50,000 people have lost their lives after a series of devastating earthquakes struck Türkiye (Turkey) and Syria.
  • In Türkiye, 2.2 million families have been displaced and left homeless by the earthquakes.
  • Save the Children is providing child-focused psychosocial support and life-saving assistance to children and families.

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A powerful magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Turkey and Syria on February 6

It was one of the strongest earthquakes to hit the region in 100 years

In northwest Syria, 4 million people were already in need of humanitarian aid

Our Response:

  • In Türkiye, our teams are coordinating closely with local partners on the ground, including Turkish Red Crescent and Support to Life, to distribute tents, hygiene kits, clothing, heaters, blankets and other essential items. In addition, our Emergency Health Unit (EHU), which provides life-saving healthcare in emergencies, is deployed to Türkiye to conduct assessments.
  • In North West Syria, we're working with long-standing local partners to distribute tents and winterization kits as well as provide health centers much-needed fuel

How to Help:

  • Your donation to the Children's Emergency Fund enables us to respond to crises around the world, whether from conflict, climate change or natural disaster.
  • Right now, children are missing out on the futures they deserve due to the effects of inequality and other issues such as the climate crisis, conflict and poverty. As a monthly donor, you can make a difference in their lives.
  • Gather your network of friends and family to fundraise for the Children's Emergency Fund, supporting children affected by the earthquake as well as crises around the world.

Advocate for children by joining our political advocacy arm — Save the Children Advocacy Network's —  efforts to send a message to Congress. We must scale up essential lifesaving activities and provide Syrian children and families with the support to recover.  

1. When and where did the first earthquake strike?

At 4:17 a.m. local time on Monday, February 6, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Turkey and Syria, according to the United States Geological Survey. It was also felt in Cyprus, Egypt, Israel and Lebanon. Dozens of aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck Türkiye in the aftermath.

The earthquake’s epicentre was 26 km east of the city of Nurdagi in Turkey's Gaziantep province, at a depth of 17.9 km. The later Magnitude-7.5 event was around 4km south-east of Ekinözü in the Kahramanmaraş province. Syria's war-torn city of Aleppo is among those areas to have borne the brunt of a deadly earthquake. 

The earthquake struck an area that is home to millions of refugees already battling desperate circumstances.

2. When did earthquakes hit Türkiye's southern province of Hata?

On February 20, earthquakes of 6.4 and 5.8 magnitudes shook the southern province of Hatay, an already devastated by earthquakes just weeks earlier. 

Speaking from Hatay, Türkiye, Dan Stewart from Save the Children said: "There are heartbreaking reports of yet more collapsed buildings and power outages in a region where over 46,000 lives have already been lost and buildings destroyed. Children have been injured, lost loved ones, and many were already showing signs of acute distress. Hundreds of thousands of people have once again fled onto the streets in the bitter cold. Families who have already lost everything have just experienced another devasting blow."

3. Are earthquakes common in Turkey?

Turkey is an active earthquake zone. Experts note that most of Turkey sits on the Anatolian plate between two major faults, the North Anatolian Fault and East Anatolian Fault. 

4. What are the challenges to the ongoing relief efforts? 

12 years of conflict in Syria, the effects of the earthquake are being compounded by the existing destruction, fuel shortages and a collapsed economy. The harsh winter weather is also creating challenges, as rescuers battle freezing conditions. 

5. How have refugees and displaced people been impacted by the earthquakes? 

Turkey hosts more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees who have fled their country's civil war, almost half of them children. The affected area in Turkey is also close to the Syrian border, where more than 6.8 million people were internally displaced in Syria before the earthquake.

Save the Children is concerned about the many already vulnerable Syrian refugees living in overcrowded and unstable accommodation in Turkey. The affected area in Syria is home to many vulnerable displaced people.

According to UNHCR, the exact number of refugees impacted is not yet know and might not be  for some days. It is feared the number of refugees impacted might be significant. 

6. What impact did the earthquake have?

Over 2,800 buildings have collapsed in Turkey, including hospitals, schools, and government buildings, with Save the Children racing to assess the immediate needs of children and their families.

Sasha Ekanayake, Save the Children Turkey Country Director, said:  "This is one of the strongest earthquakes to hit the region in 100 years and made thousands homeless, while the region is experiencing freezing weather and snowstorms. Schools in the affected areas are now closed for a week.  Our teams are moving quickly to check all our staff are safe, and to respond to the emergency, but it's crucial that the international community acts now to provide support to the thousands of people in need."  

7. How can I help survivors of the Turkey and Syria earthquakes?

Your donation to the Children's Emergency Fund enables us to respond to crises around the world, whether from conflict, climate change or natural disasters.

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