Turkey-Syria earthquake live: Relatives search for loved ones in the rubble 

Turkey-Syria earthquake live: Relatives search for loved ones in the rubble 
A string of devastating earthquakes has devasted areas across Turkey and Syria, with more than 6,200 recorded deaths following the disaster.
12 min read
07 February, 2023

This live blog has now ended. Follow The New Arab on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for the latest news on the Turkey-Syria earthquake. 

Rescuers in Turkey and Syria braved freezing darkness, aftershocks and collapsing buildings on Tuesday, as they dug for survivors buried by a string of earthquakes that killed at least 6,200 people.

Disaster agencies said several thousand buildings had been flattened in cities across a vast border region - pouring misery on an area already plagued by war, insurgency, and a recent cholera outbreak.

Through the night, survivors used their bare hands to pick over the twisted ruins of multi-storey apartment blocks - trying to save family, friends and anyone else sleeping inside when the first massive 7.8-magnitude quake struck early on Monday.

There have since been a series of aftershocks, which have measured up to 7.5 in magnitude. 

Thank you for following The New Arab's live coverage of the Turkey-Syria earthquake.

Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for the latest news and developments.

5:41 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

This live blog has now ended. Follow The New Arab on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for the latest news on the Turkey-Syria earthquake. 

A summary of events at the end of February 7th

  • The recorded death toll is now greater than 6,200 
  • Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan declared a state of emergency in 10 provinces 
  • rescuers working in harsh conditions struggled to dig people out of the rubble 
  • A United Nations official said it was feared thousands of children may have been killed
  • Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority said 5,775 buildings had been destroyed in the quake and that 20,426 people had been injured
  • The death toll in Syrian regime-held areas rose to 812
  • In the rebel-held northwest, the toll was more than 790
5:22 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Death toll surpasses 6,200 

Rescuers in Turkey and Syria battled frigid cold Tuesday in a race against time to find survivors under buildings flattened by an earthquake that killed more than 6,200 people.

The 7.8-magnitude quake struck Monday as people slept, flattening thousands of structures, trapping an unknown number of people and potentially impacting millions.

Whole rows of buildings collapsed, leaving some of the heaviest devastation near the quake's epicentre between the Turkish cities of Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras.

Syrians carry the body of an earthquake victim during a funeral procession [source: Getty]
5:09 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Mo Salah tweets a message of condolence 

5:06 PM
The New Arab Staff

Syrians find shelter in cars and basements after quake 

Cars and basements have become temporary shelters for Syrians in regions hit by the earthquake, amid plunging temperatures and stormy weather.

Despite the freezing weather, Syrian families across northwest Syria – especially those close to the Turkish border, are resorting to sheltering in cars, parks and open spaces, fearful of further earth tremors that could lead their homes to collapse with them and their families inside.

The Assistance Coordination Unit said the number of families estimated to have been left without shelter across northwest Syria is over 11,000, and are calling for the land crossing into Turkey to be opened immediately for the transport of the injured, and the influx of emergency aid.

Aleppo, already devastated by war, was badly hit by Monday's earthquake [source: Getty]

Elsewhere civilians are sheltering in basements, with little food and not enough blankets to keep warm.

In Aleppo one woman described her situation: "I’m with 398 people, all women and children, in a basement with no food, and nothing to protect us from the cold."

They don’t know if their houses are still standing.

In Latakia, people are just "waiting for aid from Damascus" according to one hospital employee, as it had become clear early on the hospitals were not equipped for the crisis.

4:42 PM
The New Arab Staff

Aftershocks in Gaziantep 

Strong aftershocks in Gaziantep, a city in Turkey close to the Syrian border. 

Gaziantep was very close to the epicentre of Monday's 7.8 magnitude earthquake 

4:33 PM
The New Arab Staff

From our correspondent: 

Will Christou is in Turkey covering events as they unfold on the ground

"When emergency workers heard voices coming from beneath a collapsed floor some 36 hours after the earthquake, they quickly set to work to free them..." 

Click below to read the full story: 

Live Story
4:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Ukraine sending 87 rescuers to Turkey 

Ukraine said on Tuesday that it would send a team of several dozen rescue workers to Turkey after the earthquake. 

Kyiv will send "to the republic of Turkey a combined search-and-rescue team of the State Emergency Service consisting of 87 people", including 10 flight crew members, according to Ukraine's government website.

Rescuers are pulling people out of the rubble in Turkey and Syria [source: Getty]
3:57 PM
The New Arab Staff

Ancient castles and mosques crumble in Syria and Turkey after earthquake 

Roman-era castles, Ottoman mosques and neolithic monuments have been weakened or destroyed by a series of earthquakes that struck Syria and southern Turkey on Monday.

Visit our website for the full story: 

Live Story
3:53 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

NGOs call for authorities to keep the internet on after the earthquake

Authorities are blocking social media and messaging platforms including WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in Iraq in a misguided attempt to thwart cheating in school exams.

Access Now and the #KeepItOn coalition are calling on authorities in Iraq to immediately reinstate full internet access across the nation.

"When there’s an emergency, people need to know what’s happening around them," said Felicia Anthonio, #KeepItOn Campaign Manager at Access Now.

"After the horrific earthquake roared through the MENA region, people in Iraq have been left without a full picture of their surroundings. Authorities must keep the internet open.”

3:04 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Snowstorms and plummeting temperatures impact earthquake-damaged areas 

According to meteorological reports, a snowstorm is looming over the region, parts of which have already been severely impacted by conflict.

Northwest Syria has been the site of most of the violence in the country in recent years, and more than 60 percent of the 4.6 million people in the region have fled their homes due to violence.

Many of them will now be displaced once again.

Rescue teams say they will continue with their emergency search efforts, however, the cold weather makes things more difficult. 

2:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

'Miracle baby' born in rubble after earthquake 

A 'miracle baby' was born under the rubble of a collapsed building in Syria's Aleppo province, after a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the region.

To read the full story, click below: 

Live Story
2:25 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

From our correspondent:

Will Christou is in Turkey covering developments after Monday's earthquake

2:22 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Shipping containers ablaze at Turkey's Iskenderun Port 

Hundreds of shipping containers were ablaze at Turkey's Iskenderun Port on Tuesday, shutting down operations and forcing freight liners to divert vessels to other ports.

Turkey's maritime authority said on Monday that the port, located on the Mediterranean coast in the southern province of Hatay, was damaged due to the earthquake that struck Turkey and neighbouring Syria.

Drone footage showed fierce flames blackening hundreds of containers on the dock, with water jets from a fire truck dwarfed by the scale of the blaze that broke out on Monday. Thick black smoke billowed into the sky.

12:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

EU mobilises more than 30 search and rescue teams to send to Turkey 

The EU says it has mobilised more than 30 search and rescue or medical teams to send to Turkey.

They’re being provided by 19 member states - plus Montenegro and Albania.

In total that will mean more than 1,200+ rescue workers heading to the affected areas and 70 detection dogs.

12:47 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Egypt's President Sisi speaks with Syria's Assad to offer earthquake relief 

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has spoken with Syria's Bashar al-Assad offering his full support for earthquake relief efforts, Egypt's presidency said on Tuesday. 

Egypt's President Sisi faces a spiralling economic situation at home [source: Getty]
12:22 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Erodgan has imposed a three-month state of emergency on 10 provinces 

Turkish Preisdent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in the region for three months in the 10 provinces affected by the devastating earthquakes. 

Erdoğan said that 70 countries had offered help in search and rescue operations and that Turkey planned to open up hotels in the tourism hub of Antalya, to the west, to temporarily house people affected by the quakes, Reuters reports. 

12:09 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

From our correspondent: 

Our Middle East correspondent Will Christou is in Turkey covering developments after the earthquake 

He is currently in Iskanderoon with communities waiting to see if their loved ones trapped under the rubble are safe 

Search and rescue efforts in Iskanderoon
Search and rescue efforts in Iskanderoon [source: TNA]
Collapsed buildings [source: TNA]
Collapsed buildings in Turkey [source: TNA]
The woman on the left with the pink sleeves lost her husband and 14-year old daughter and was waiting to see the fate of her 22-year old Hussein.
The woman on the left with pink sleeves lost her husband and 14-year-old daughter and was waiting to see the fate of her 22-year old Hussein [source: TNA]
Relatives of loved ones trapped under the rubble
Relatives of loved ones trapped under the rubble [source: TNA]
12:01 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UNICEF says Turkey-Syria earthquake may have killed thousands of children 

The United Nations children's agency said on Tuesday that the earthquake and aftershocks that destroyed scores of buildings in Turkey and Syria may have killed thousands of children.

"The earthquakes that hit southern Turkey and northern Syria early yesterday morning may have killed thousands of children," UNICEF spokesperson James Elder told reporters at a briefing in Geneva.

He added the organisation could not determine a specific death toll of children.

Rescue teams continue to search for people under the rubble [source: Getty]
10:33 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Syrian jihadists escape prison following quake 

At least 20 detainees at a Syrian prison - believed to be jihadists - have escaped after the quake damaged the facility, a source has told Agence France-Presse.

The prison in the town of Rajo near the Turkish border holds about 2,000 inmates, with about 1,300 of them suspected to be IS fighters, said an official at the jail. It also holds fighters from Kurdish-led forces.

Monday's 7.8-magnitude quake - which was followed by dozens of aftershocks in the region - caused damage including cracked walls and doors.

"[The] inmates started to mutiny and took control of parts of the prison."

"About 20 prisoners fled... who are believed to be Islamic State militants."

10:32 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The New Arab is covering the Turkey-Syria earthquake across social media. 



10:28 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

WHO says millions 'could' be impacted by deadly earthquake 

Up to 23 million people could be affected by the massive earthquake that has killed thousands in Turkey and Syria, the WHO warned on Tuesday. 

"Event overview maps show that potentially 23 million people are exposed, including around five million vulnerable populations," the World Health Organization's senior emergencies officer Adelheid Marschang said.

"Civilian infrastructure and potentially health infrastructure have been damaged across the affected region, mainly in Turkey and northwest Syria," she said.

The WHO "considers that the main unmet needs may be in Syria in the immediate and mid-term," Marschang told the WHO's executive committee in Geneva.

In Syria, the death toll has risen to 1,602 [source: Getty]
10:20 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Qatar halts UN cross-border aid to Syria 

The flow of critical United Nations aid from Turkey to northwest Syria has temporarily halted due to damage to roads and other logistical issues related to the deadly earthquake that struck the two countries on Monday, a UN spokesperson said.

"Some roads are broken, some are inaccessible. There are logistical issues that need to be worked through," Madevi Sun-Suona, spokesperson for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA), told Reuters.

9:00 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Families cling to hope as search for survivors in Turkey underway 

The sounds of tractors dragging rubble from the collapsed building melded with the sobs of women awaiting news of their loved ones.

Relatives were huddled around piles of scrap wood set ablaze to keep them warm as they watched the painstakingly slow progress.

It was midnight in Adana, Turkey, some 160 kilometres away from the epicentre of the deadly earthquake that devastated Turkey and Syria in the early hours of Monday morning.

Our correspondent Will Christou is in Turkey covering search and rescue efforts after the deadly earthquake 

Go to our website to follow his articles: 

Live Story


8:48 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Former Newcastle winger Atsu was pulled alive from rubble in Turkey 

Ghana international winger Christian Atsu has been found alive after being buried under rubble in the earthquake that hit Turkey, the vice president of his club Hatayspor told media on Tuesday.

Atsu, who plays for Hatayspor, was reported missing in Turkey's Hatay province following the 7.8 magnitude quake that brought down thousands of buildings, killing some 5,000 people, in several Turkish and Syrian cities on Monday.

"Christian Atsu was pulled out injured. Our sporting director, Taner Savut, is unfortunately still under the rubble," club vice president Mustafa Ozak told Radyo Gol.

Atsu, 31, played in the Premier League for Newcastle United and Everton, on loan from Chelsea, and joined Hatayspor in September. He was last selected to play for Ghana in 2019, but has not officially retired from international football.


Christian Atsu is a Ghanaian footballer who plays for a Turkish club [source: Getty]
8:45 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Over 2,600 personnel from 65 sent to Turkey to aid emergency rescue efforts 

Turkey's disaster and emergencies agency AFAD says 2,660 personnel from 65 countries have been sent to help in the search and rescue operation.

Together with the Turkish rescuers, 13,740 people have already been assigned to work in the disaster area. They are using 629 cranes and 360 vehicles.

The AFAD also says an air bridge has been established, and 146 aid-delivering sorties have already been made.

In total, 300,000 blankets and 41,504 family tents have been delivered, along with heaters and kitchen sets.


8:40 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Another 5.7 magnitude earthquake strikes eastern Turkey region 

An earthquake of magnitude 5.7 struck eastern Turkey on Tuesday, the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said.

The quake was at a depth of 46 km (28.58 miles), the centre added. 

8:32 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Summary of events on Day 2 after the deadly earthquake: 

  • A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the Turkey-Syria border region, near the city of Gaziantep, in the early hours of Monday while people were sleeping 
  • Then a 7.5 magnitude tremor hit around 13:30 local time in Kahramanmaras region 
  • The death toll in Turkey has risen to 3,381 as of Tuesday morning 
  • The death toll in Syria has risen to at least 1,602 as of Tuesday morning 
  • Rescuers have been searching the rubble all through the night to find people trapped under the thousands of buildings destroyed by the quake 
  • Countries across the world, including the US, Greece, UK and Netherlands, have send emergency aid to Turkey 
Rescuers are racing against the clock to save people trapped in the rubble [source: Getty]