A powerful earthquake hit a wide area in south-eastern Turkey, near the Syrian border, on February 6, at dawn. The US Geological Survey said the 7.8 magnitude tremor struck at a depth of 17.9km near the city of Gaziantep.
Later, in the afternoon, the first earthquake was followed by another strong earthquake in the same area, this time of a magnitude of 7.5.
At time of going to print, the death toll as a result of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria stands at 15,383.
At least 12,391 people died in the earthquake in Turkey, while in Syria, the number reached 2,992.
Hundreds of buildings were destroyed, and thousands of people are still under the rubble.
A devastating earthquake claimed the lives of citizens of Georgia
Initially, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia reported that two citizens of Georgia had died as a result of the earthquake in Turkey.
“The Embassy of Georgia in the Republic of Turkey received information about the death of Georgian citizen N.Z. in the city of Antakya as a result of the earthquake. The diplomatic representation of Georgia is in contact with the family members of the deceased, as well as with the relevant agencies of Turkey,” reported the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Shortly after, the death of another citizen of Georgia was reported. “An eyewitness informed the embassy about the death of another citizen of Georgia – O.T., in Antakya, Turkey,” the Foreign Ministry of Georgia noted.
“Search operations are continuing, and are not yet completed,” said Georgian Ambassador to Turkey, Giorgi Janjghava.
Later, the number of Georgian citizens who died as a result of the earthquake increased to three.
“Georgian woman, I. Ch died as a result of the earthquake in Adiyaman. The deceased has dual citizenship, and relevant procedures are being carried out by the family members,” stated the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Georgian rescue teams head to Turkey to participate in the rescue operations.
In accordance with the decision of the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili, Georgian rescue teams have been sent to Turkey to participate in the rescue operations, along with appropriate machinery.
60 firefighters, as well as rescue gear and machinery, were sent from the base of the Main Division of Emergency Response under the Emergency Situations Management Agency (ESMA) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Firefighters and rescuers of the ESMA rescued a young woman from the ruins in the city of Adiyaman, after which she was transferred to a medical facility in a conscious state.
Georgian rescuers have been continuously involved in rescue operations throughout the night in the city of Adiyaman. A field camp has been set up at the site and Georgian fire rescuers are working in close coordination with the operational control center in the province.
An additional 40 firefighters from Georgia have since headed to the city to join the main group of rescuers.
The Turkish Ambassador to Georgia, Ali Kaan Orbai commended Georgia’s support. “The death toll is increasing, 62,000 people have been injured and more than 6,000 houses have been destroyed,” he said.
“We have mobilized all our resources in Turkey, and we have also received help from the international community. Georgia was among the first countries that responded to our call. I am in close contact with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I know that Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili is personally coordinating the relief effort. The Georgian people show great care. I would like to say that I am proud to be the ambassador in a country that loves Turkey so much.
“The Government of Georgia organizes material assistance. We are very proud to see that Georgian politicians, government officials, and the President were at the embassy to make a note in the condolence book. Along with material support, this also gives us emotional support from our close neighbor, our partner, our friend, our brother, our strategic partner – Georgia. The moment of silence during the session in the Parliament of Georgia was also very important for us and was a real expression of solidarity and friendship from the side of Georgia,” the Ambassador noted.
A country in mourning
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a state of emergency for three months in the 10 provinces affected by the devastating earthquake. He noted that Turkey faced one of the biggest natural disasters in the history of not only the country but also the region and the world as a whole.
He also announced a week of mourning.
Compiled by Ketevan Skhirtladze