Rescue work at the destroyed Galeria Business Center in Diyarbakır. One of the buildings in the background later collapsed following an aftershock. By Mahmut Bozarslan (Voice of America) - https://www.voaturkce.com/a/icisleri-bakani-soylu-dorduncu-seviye-alarm-ortaya-koyduk/6949379.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=128454774
28 Feb 2023

The total number of dead over 50,000 in Turkey - Syria earthquake


Two very large earthquakes, the strongest with a magnitude of 7,8, occurred Monday morning in Turkey and Syria. More than 50,000 people have been confirmed dead in both countries.


According to Wikipedia, as of 26 February 2023, more than 52,800 deaths were confirmed: more than 44,300 in Turkey, and more than 8,400 in Syria.

It is the deadliest earthquake in Turkey  since the 526 Antioch earthquake and the deadliest in Syria since the 1822 Aleppo earthquake. It was the deadliest worldwide since the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and the fifth-deadliest of the 21st century

Collectively, the earthquakes are estimated to have caused US$84.1 billion in damages,  making them the fourth-costliest earthquakes on record. It is the deadliest natural disaster in Turkey's modern history.

It is estimated that 14 million people, or 16 percent of Turkey's population, were affected by the disatser. Development experts from the United Nations estimate that about 1.5 million people were left homeless.

Following Turkey's call for international help, more than 141,000 people from 94 countries joined the rescue effort.

CTIF is actively seeking an estimate of how many people were actively saved by USAR efforts. 



More than 160,000 buildings, including 520,000 apartments,  collapsed or were severely damaged in the Feb. 6 earthquakes that killed over 50,000 people Turkey and neighbouring Syria, according to Reuters news agency. 

According to a statement from a government official on Friday February 24th, Turkey has begun work to rebuild homes for about 1,5 million people who have become homeless after the earthquake. 

On the same day, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) announced the death toll in Turkey due to earthquakes had risen to 44,218.

The total combined death toll is now over 50,000 people in both countries.

As of February 24, Syria's announced death toll was 5,914. 



Another earthquake struck Turkey on February 20th. The 6,4 tremour killed at least six more people. Rescuers had to once again start searching for people trapped under the rubble remain of destroyed buildings. 

Turkey's disaster and emergency agency said the 6.4 magnitude earthquake occurred at 20:04 local time (17:04 GMT) at a depth of 10km (6.2 miles). It struck near the city of Antakya near the border with Syria.

A 5.8 aftershock followed three minutes later,  and then dozens of aftershocks which were less severe.


UPDATED February 15:

Victims were still found alive more than 200 hours after the initial earthquake. 

UPDATED February 13:

Seven days after the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria, USAR teams are still finding victims  alive, according to CNN. 

A man was rescued in Hatay on Monday in the 183rd hour of Turkey's earthquake. A woman was rescued after 175 hours under the rubble, among the latest in a series  stories of success as rescue workers in Turkey continue search efforts. 

Rescue operations are over in rebel-held areas of northwest Syria, the volunteer organization White Helmets said. The relief efforts in Syria have been complicated by the long-running civil war in the country.


The deadliest earthquakes since the year 2000:

According to the US weather authority NOAA, there were 58 registered earthquakes in Turkey between 1990 and 2022. This makes Turkey the most affected by Earthquakes in all of Europe, and puts it as number 6 in the world. 

However, the worst earthquakes have occurred elsewhere in the world during the 2000s. According to Encyclopedia Britannica and Forbes,  this is the list of the deadliest earthquakes since the new Millennium.

Haiti in 2010 had the highest death toll, tightly followed by the tsunami (triggered by a seismic event) in 2004. But also China and Pakistan have experienced earthquake events where the death totalled almost 90,000.  

2001: India: 20,000 dead

2003. Iran: 34,000 dead

2004: Indonesia (and surrounding areas) 228,000 dead

2005. Pakistan: 86,000 dead

2006. Indonesia: 6000 dead

2008. China: 87,000 dead

2010. Haiti: 228,000 dead (some sources mention over 300,000)

2011. Japan: (Fukoshima) 20,000 dead

2015. Nepal: 9000 dead

2023: Turkey: 36,000 dead (as of February 13)


UPDATED February 12:

The death toll on Sunday morning was officially reported at more than 33 000. 

The United Nations is warning that the final number of dead may be double.

Officials and medics said 29,605 people had died in Turkey and 3,574 in Syria.  

This brings the confirmed total to 33,179, Agence France-Presse reports.

The numbers in Syria are from Friday. 


Victims found alive after almost 150 hours -

Despite almost a week having passed since the earthquake, rescue efforts are still yielding results. 

USAR teams are reported to have pulled a seven-month-old baby from the remains of a building in Hatay, southern Turkey, 139 hours after Monday's deadly earthquake.

A 12-year-old girl was saved after being trapped in a collapsed building for 147 hours.

State media also reported that a 13-year-old was saved in Gaziantep on Sunday,

80 000 people are injured in Turkey alone, according to president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The rescue efforts are now starting to wind down, and rescuers are referring to the recent recovered victims as "miracles". 

According to WHO, close to 26 million people are affected by the earthquakes. 15 million are allegedly affected in Turkey, andclose to 11 million in Syria. 5 millions are seen as particularly vulnerable:  1,4 million children or around 350 000 elderly. 


Bad construction partly to blame?

Officials in Turkey say 113 arrest warrants have been issued in connection with the construction of buildings that collapsed in Monday's earthquake, according to the BBC. 

For years, experts have warned that many new buildings in Turkey were unsafe due to construction codes not always being followed. Many of the buildings which collapsed were either constructed or upgraded to withstand an earthquake the size of last week's, or stronger. According to the lawsuits against responsible people, building codes were in many cases not being followed, leading to collapse. 


UPDATED February 10:

More than 22 000 people have been reported dead as or Friday morning in both Turkey and northern Syria. Aid workers are desperate for medical supplies in Syria 



More than 19,300 people are reported to have been confirmed dead in Turkey and Syria as of Thursday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave an updated death toll on Thursday afternoon, where he said 16,170 people have died in Turkey.

In Syria, 3,162 deaths have been reported. The death count could be much higher as some of the affected regions are not under government control. 



More than 11,800 dead and more than 50, 000 injured were reported from both Turkey and Syria on Wednesday morning. The majority of deaths are reported from Turkey. 

In Syria, the total number of deaths now stands at 2,802, including 1,540 in rebel-held areas in the northwest, according to the "White Helmets," and 1,262 deaths in government-controlled parts of Syria, Health Minister Dr. Hassan al-Ghobash announced, according to Syrian state media.  

More than 300,000 people have been displaced in Syria, according to Reuters. In Syria, already around 4 million are dependent on humanitarian aid. 

Freezing weather conditions continue to endanger survivors and is complicating the USAR efforts.  

The death toll is expected to rise further, as USAR teams have had difficulties reaching some areas.  it is now on day 3 since the earthquake struck. The first 24 hours are when chances of survival are the highest. 

Various news media report that more than 145 aftershocks occurred during the first 48 hours after the initial earthquake. Some seismologists believe aftershocks are likely to occur for months to come. 


Fire in the port area has been extinguished

Monday´s earthquake caused a large fire in Turkey´s main port. It has been  reported to be extinguished on Wednesday.

Hundreds of shipping containers caught fire, and while the fire was thought to be extinguished already on Tuesday, it allegedly reignited. According to the BBC, military helicopters and planes were used to help bring the fire under control when fighting the flames from the land and sea did not work.

Emergency services reported that they initially found it difficult to access the fire because of damage from the earthquakes and because containers were blocking the entrance to the port. 


UPDATED February 7:

The death toll from the earthquakes affecting pats of Turkey and Syria is now over 5000, and the number is expected to rise as USAR efforts are now ongoing on the second day since the first of two powerful earthquakes struck on Monday morning, the strongest one having a magnitude of 7,8.

Reports of more than 100 aftershocks have been reported, and some seismologists say aftershocks are likely to occur for several months to come. 

Around 3500 were reported to have been found dead in Turkey, and around 1600 in northwestern Syria, according to official numbers on Tuesday morning. Later on Tuesday the total number of victims was reported to be over 6000. Likely this number will rise dramatically during the week as USAR efforts continue.  

Turkish President Erdogan has declared a three month state of emergency in ten provinces, according to Reuters news agency.

In a speech on Tuesday the president said 70 countries around the world have offered to send USAR help and other support in the wake of the earthquakes.  

Time is now running out for those still stuck under the rubble from collapsed buildings, as the USAR efforts are now past the first crucial 24 hours.  Cold weather is making the chances of survival even lower. 

Rescue teams in Turkey are currently dealing with  heavy rain and snow. 

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus from the World Health Organisation has said to Reuters that he is particularly concerned about areas form where authorities have received no information. Allegedly from large parts of both Syria and Turkey, information has been very scarce. 

8,000 people have been rescued (as of Tuesday morning) from more than 4,700 destroyed buildings, Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said in a statement.

The effects of the earthquakes have hit Syria very hard, considering that reportedly 4 million people are already surviving on humanitarian aid. 

Read more  


On February 6 CTIF.org wrote:

The risk of a severe aftershocks create a very dangerous working environment for fire services and other USAR teams trying to recover people from the rubble.

The first earthquake struck just after 4 am local time, and had a magnitude of 7,8. A second earthquake, with a magnitude of 7,5, occurred only hours later at 11.24 am local time.   

The main earthquake could allegedly be felt all the way in Cairo, Egypt, more than 1000 kms / 600 miles away.  Several aftershocks have also occurred, some media reports mentioning more than 20 aftershocks. 

Seismologist Björn Lund says to SVT.se that the risk for USAR teams is severe working in the damaged buildings, especially with the remaining risk of new powerful quakes hitting the area. Any aftershock of 5 or more on the Richter scale can cause new collapses, trapping rescue personnel under more rubble.

Screen shot of a Twitter video of the earthquake
Social media was full of videos from eye witness recordings on Monday. This video shows an area of the city of Kahramanmaras devastated by the earthquake. 

Several thousand buildings have collapsed in both Turkey and Syria. With cold weather and potentially freezing temperatures expected for Tuesday, time is running short for recovering more victims alive. 

The recorded fatalities, which were over 3000 on Monday, are spread out over 10 provinces. In Turkey alone, tens of thousands of people have also been injured. In Syria, the official number of dead was just over 500 people, according to AP.com.  

Turkey lies in one of the world's most active earthquake zones. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday's disaster was the worst the country had seen since 1939, when the Erzincan earthquake in eastern Turkey killed nearly 33,000 people.

Johan von Schreeb, a professor in global catastrophe medicine, says to SVT.se that he estimates the total number of fatalities will likely be 10,000 - 15,000, considering that the chances of survival are drastically lowered after 24 hours being buried in rubble after an earthquake. 

In 1999 a deadly quake which killed more than 17,000 in Turkey's north-west.

BBC.com has some of the latest updates and also photos and information of the USAR teams being sent from various countries to help. 

By Mikenorton - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12769153
Illustration by Mike Norton - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12769153



Cover Photo: Rescue work at the destroyed Galeria Business Center in Diyarbakır. One of the buildings in the background later collapsed following an aftershock. By Mahmut Bozarslan (Voice of America) - https://www.voaturkce.com/a/icisleri-bakani-soylu-dorduncu-seviye-alarm-ortaya-…, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=128454774

By Mahmut Bozarslan (VOA) - https://www.voaturkce.com/a/usgs-turkiyenin-guneydogusunda-7-8-buyuklugunde-dep…, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=128457642