On Monday, February 06, 2023, during the early morning hours, an earthquake, measuring 7.8 magnitude on the Richter scale, with its epicentre located in the Pazarcık district of Kahramanmaraş, brought devastation across 10 provinces in the southeast of Türkiye, and parts of Syria, being the most violent event of its type in Türkiye in a century.
Another earthquake of 7.5 magnitude occurred in the district of Elbistan at 13:24 on the same day. along with many violent tremors over the next 48 hours. These events lead to the destruction of approximately 6,000 buildings. The earthquake also affected areas where many Syrian Refugees live.
According to the official statements, more than 14,000 people have perished in Türkiye, pushing the overall number of fatalities in Turkiye and Syria past 16,000, and more than 63,000 people were injured in the earthquake, in both countries, at the time this text was written. This tragedy has left tens of thousands of people in the region destitute, with the cold winter conditions threatening the lives of earthquake victims further.
Approximately 25,000 search and rescue personnel have been deployed by the Turkish government to the region, while 10 ships and 54 cargo aircraft involved in rescue operations. Teams from many countries, including South Africa, are participating in search and rescue efforts, and around 70 different countries have made offers of support. The search and rescue teams helped rescue more than 8,000 people from the building debris. Rescue work continues, despite the cold weather conditions posing further challenges.
On behalf of the Government and people of South Africa, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his deep sorrow for the great loss of life and injuries caused by the earthquake in Türkiye and Syria.
As DEIK and BUSA, we are deeply saddened by the devastation caused by the earthquake that hit northern Syria and Türkiye. We offer our condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and we wish a speedy recovery to those who have been injured. It is with immense gratitude that we have witnessed the South African people come together in support of Türkiye and Syria and the victims of the earthquake.
We encourage and hope for the continuation of this solidarity in the coming days. As businesspeople, we commit to continue to develop short, medium, and long-term projects to assist people in their time of difficulty. Those who wish to be involved in the support of the people of Türkiye and Syria, and who would like to learn more about how they can assist Turkish and South African NGO’s, and the causes they support, may do so via the social media accounts of the Turkish Embassy in Pretoria and the South African Embassy in Ankara.
DEİK South Africa
BUSA CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER