A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Turkey and Syria early Monday local time, killing more than 1,600 people and injuring more than 5,000 in Turkey, where the earthquake was centered, and more than 1,000 in Syria. The death toll is expected to rise as rescuers search fallen buildings in hopes of finding survivors—almost 3,000 buildings collapsed in Turkey alone.
A serious aftershock, magnitude 7.5, later hit Turkey. That would be a serious event as a stand-alone earthquake.
The earthquake’s toll in Syria is magnified by that country’s ongoing civil war, with buildings already damaged by years of bombings.
“Every minute, we lose a life. We are now racing with time. We need heavy equipment, we need heavy machinery dedicated for rescue missions. We need rescue teams. We need fuel. We have been using up backup fuel for the past two months,” a White Helmets media representative said of the situation, The Washington Post reports.
“Tens of thousands of civilians are homeless,” he added. “The medical situation is abysmal. Tens of thousands of buildings are now cracked. There’s a snowstorm. There’s predictions of flooding in the area. The humanitarian situation is disastrous, with every meaning of the word. It’s not just the rescue—it’s the rescue and the humanitarian situation.”
Countries around the world are mobilizing to send aid, including search and rescue teams and medical assistance, to the areas affected by the earthquake.