The Week - Junior

Aid sent to Turkey and Syria


Countries around the world are sending aid people in Turkey and Syria after two powerful earthquake­s shook the region on 6 February. The first earthquake was one of the strongest to hit the area in more than 100 years. Almost 6,000 buildings have collapsed and at the time The Week Junior went to press, more than 11,200 people had died.

How are countries helping?

More than 65 countries have sent help to both

Turkey and Syria, including food, medical supplies and shelter. The UK has sent teams to Turkey to help rescue people and provide medical treatment to those who were injured during the earthquake. The US and the EU (a group of 27 countries that work and trade together) have also sent search-and-rescue teams to help find survivors.

What happened?

In the early hours of the morning on 6 February, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 struck in the south-east of Turkey, close to the Syrian border. A second earthquake, of magnitude 7.5, struck later that day in the same area. Earthquake­s with a magnitude between 7 and 7.9 are called “major earthquake­s”. The areas with the worst damage are in southern Turkey and northern Syria but the earthquake­s were strong enough to be felt in nearby countries, including Lebanon and Israel.

There has been a war in Syria since 2011. This had already damaged roads and buildings, including hospitals, in northern Syria, close to where the earthquake­s struck. The United Nations (an organisati­on of 193 countries that work together on the challenges that face humanity) says that this earlier damage will make it even more difficult to get help to the people most affected by the earthquake­s.

How do earthquake­s happen?

The Earth’s crust is made up of large, moving pieces of solid rock called tectonic plates, which float on partly melted rock beneath. As these move very slowly over time, they press against each other and there is a build-up of energy. This energy is sometimes released in a sudden shock wave, which causes an earthquake. Turkey gets more earthquake­s than almost any other country in the world because it lies at the point where three tectonic plates meet.

What was the reaction?

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said that search-and-rescue teams had immediatel­y been sent out to help the people affected. He said, “We hope that we will get through this disaster as soon as possible and with the least damage.”

Leaders around the world have shown their support for people in Turkey and Syria. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said, “We will stand by the Turkish people in this difficult time.” Rishi Sunak, the UK Prime Minister, wrote on social media that his thoughts were with the people of Turkey and Syria and that “the UK stands ready to help in whatever way we can.”

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Rescuers in Turkey.
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