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Photos Show Miraculous Survival Alongside Devastation After Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria

Two devastating earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria in quick succession early Monday, leaving more than 2,300 people dead and thousands injured.

The first earthquake, which was recorded at magnitude 7.8, hit at 4:17 a.m. local time in the city of Gaziantep in south Turkey as families slept. It was one of the most powerful earthquakes in the region in at least a century. Hours later, a 7.5-magnitude quake hit the Kahramanmaras province as rescuers worked to search for survivors.

Photos show entire blocks demolished. In some areas, only one building was left standing while the rest were turned to rubble. In others, photos showed neighborhoods where only one building was destroyed, surrounded by others that had survived the temblors.

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“We used our phone’s flashlight so we could get dressed, and hurried out of the house. Anyone able to save themselves has now fled somewhere. I have relatives in Kahramanmaraş, their houses were destroyed,” Sinan Şahan, a tradesperson in Gaziantep, told The Guardian.

Aftershocks were felt as far as Lebanon, Greece, and Cyprus. More than 460 people have died in northern Syria, according to the government’s health ministry. Millions of refugees are still displaced in the region from the Syrian Civil War.

Turkey sits on the Anatolian Plate, which borders two major fault lines. Governments around the world have promised aid where those still reeling from the devastation have had to begin the difficult work of rescuing those trapped under the rubble.

“There was screaming everywhere,” one 30-year-old man in Diyarbakir told Reuters. “I started pulling rocks away with my hands. We pulled out the injured with friends, but the screaming didn’t stop. Then the [rescue] teams came.”


Ercin Erturk—Anadolu Agency/Getty ImagesAn aerial view of collapsed buildings in Hatay, Turkey.

 


2023 Anadolu AgencyMehmet Emin Ataoglu is rescued from the rubble of 6-story building in Hatay, Turkey.

Ghaith Alsayed—APCollapsed buildings in the town of Harem near the Turkish border, Idlib province, Syria.

Rami Al Sayed—AFP/Getty ImagesResidents retrieve an injured girl from the rubble of a collapsed building following an earthquake in the town of Jandaris, in the countryside of Syria’s northwestern city of Afrin i

Hussein Malla—APA family sits outside their home in Beirut following an earthquake that hit neighboring Turkey.

Oguz Yeter—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)A view of a damaged building in Adana, Turkey.

Rami Al Sayed—AFP/Getty ImagesAn injured man is helped by a resident to slide out of the rubble of a collapsed building following an earthquake in the town of Jandaris, Syria.

Murat Sengul—Anadolu Agency/Getty ImagesAn aerial view of shipping containers on fire after an the earthquakes in Hatay, Turkey.

Ghaith Alsayed—APCivil defense workers and residents search through the rubble of collapsed buildings in the town of Harem near the Turkish border, Idlib province, Syria.

Rami Al Sayed—AFP/Getty ImagesResidents rescue a child from the rubble of a collapsed building following an earthquake in the town of Jandaris, Syria.

Muzaffer Cagliyaner—Anadolu Agency/Getty ImagesAn aerial view of debris of a collapsed building in Osmaniye, Turkey.

Omar Sanadik—APCivil defense workers and security forces carry an earthquake victim as they search through the wreckage of collapsed buildings in Hama, Syria.