Rescue Efforts in Syria and Turkey

By Isabella Brady

On February 6, 2023, a 7.8 earthquake, followed nine hours later by an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.7, struck the countries of Syria and Turkey. The subsequent decimation in the form of leveled buildings and shattered infrastructure was responsible for what officials estimate to be over 50,000 deaths and 70,000 injured individuals. With 160,000 buildings partially or entirely collapsed, the two countries face a humanitarian crisis as they excavate the rubble to save as many lives as possible.

“Three minutes without oxygen, three days without water, three weeks without food,” —the timeframe for survival proves immensely limited (CNN). In the wake of the earthquake, countries rapidly mobilized equipment and teams to expedite search and rescue operations in the two countries. India, among the first to arrive, brought a team of four trained sniffing and rescue canines: Julie, Honey, Romio, and Rambo. The labradors, trained to bark upon sensing any living victims using their powerful olfactory sense, immediately went to work. 

However, concerns have arisen regarding the distribution of rescue teams. Whereas many teams evacuate the wounded from rubble in capital cities, few have been sent to address densely populated regions to the south. 

Rescuing people as late as 295 hours after the earthquake, Syria and Turkey had a challenge to face: medical facilities. Devastated in the earthquake, medical facilities and equipment therein became scarce as more survivors were uncovered.  Nearby countries such as France delivered vaccinations and equipment, yet more help must be delivered in order to save lives in Syria and Turkey.