Prince Albert and his government has sent their condolences after two deadly earthquakes rocked south-eastern Turkey and north-western Syria on Monday, killing an estimated 5,000.
The first earthquake hit early Monday morning at 4.17am local time. Centred on the Turkish city of Gaziantep, roughly 241 kilometres from the Turkey-Syria border, the 7.8 magnitude quake was enough to cause major damage, which was compounded only hours later, at 1.24pm local time, by a 7.5 magnitude trembler just 80 miles north of Gaziantep.
The death toll is expected to rise significantly as rescue workers search the rubble for survivors, and the World Health Organisation is estimating losses could rise by at least four times that number.
Prince Albert II sends condolences in wake of earthquakes
In a public statement released on Monday evening, Prince Albert II sent his heartfelt thoughts to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the country’s people.
“I would like to express to you my very deep emotion following the earthquakes which have hit your country so hard,” said the Prince. “I extend my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims affected by this disaster. My Family and the people of Monaco join me in sharing with you their unity of thought with the wounded and all the people who are in pain today. Rest assured, Mr. President, of our deep solidarity with your people and with you.”
The Prince’s government also sent words of support in a public statement, saying, “It is with emotion and sadness that the Prince’s Government wishes to express its most sincere condolences to the Turkish government and people who are today mourning the numerous losses of human life following the earthquake which affected the Kahramanmaras region. Our thoughts also turn to the emergency services and to those who come to the aid of the injured.”
The aftershocks continue
The region is no stranger to earthquakes, but back-to-back tremors of this magnitude are rare. At least 120 aftershocks have been recorded so far, according to the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD).
Any earthquake over 7.0 is considered “major” and with that, significant loss of life and property are expected. This is most certainly the case in Syria and Turkey today, as more than 5,500 buildings are reported to have collapsed.
The region is also home to more than four million internally displaced Syrian refugees who fled opposition-controlled areas when fighting broke out there over a decade ago. These people rely on international aid to survive, and the disruptions caused by the quakes will no doubt impact them severely.
An estimated 24,400 workers and volunteers are working tirelessly to find possible survivors who could be trapped in the rubble. 55 helicopters have made more than 150 trips into the region to transport emergency aid, with 85 trucks distributing food. Overnight temperatures sunk to -5°C and, even with help, people are in desperate need of warmth and shelter.
Rescue workers are being joined by international crews who are flooding into the region from not just the European Union, but also the United States, the UK, Israel and even Ukraine, whose on-going war with Russia would naturally give them a pass in most instances.
Tremors felt in Monaco
Eerily, Monaco and its environs have also recorded tremors in the past day or so, completely unrelated to the Turkish and Syrian quakes, with reports of a 2.4 magnitude quake hitting at 2.10am on Monday.
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Photo source: Abdurrahman Erbas for Unsplash