Key points one month after the Turkey-Syria earthquake

On 6 February, a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck parts of Turkey and Syria, killing more than 50,000 people in both countries.

The World Health Organization said it was the “worst natural disaster” in the European region for a century.

A month on, Turkey faces the daunting task of rebuilding flattened cities, with thousands buried under and many survivors barely living in tents or containers.


Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Saturday that the country’s earthquake death toll had risen to 45,968, including 4,267 dead Syrian refugees who fled the civil war in their country. Thousands more have died in Syria.

The earthquake struck 11 provinces of Turkey at 4:17 a.m. local time as people slept in homes that were not built to withstand powerful tremors.

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Turkish officials said 214,000 buildings collapsed after the earthquake, many of them in Hatay and Kahramanmaras.

Crews of workers are still hard at work removing the debris that now dominates the quake-hit cities.

About 14 million people have been affected by the disaster – one-sixth of the country’s population.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that 3.3 million people have been forced to leave the earthquake zone so far. According to official figures, more than 1.4 million people have been accommodated in tents and around 46,000 in container cities, while the rest have been accommodated in hostels and guesthouses.


Disappointment is mounting in the government over the way it has handled the disaster. Erdogan blamed severe winter conditions that covered major roads with snow and ice, damaged roads and inoperable airports.

Anger towards the state is strong in some provinces, including Adiyaman. Survivors told AFP they were left to rescue loved ones trapped under the rubble with their bare hands as there were no rescuers, soldiers or police for days after the quake.

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