On Monday, a catastrophic earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck southern Turkey, bringing death and destruction to the country and its neighboring Syria. Over 2,200 people have been killed, while many more are believed to be trapped in the rubble.
The quake occurred in the early morning hours, shaking buildings throughout the Middle East and even being felt as far away as Israel and Egypt.
As reported by the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority, the death toll in Turkey alone has risen to 1,498 people, with 8,533 injured.
In Syria, approximately 4 million people have already been displaced due to the 12-year civil war, and the quake has resulted in hundreds of additional fatalities in government and rebel-controlled areas.
Currently, the combined death toll for both countries stands at 2,249; however, it is expected to rise.
The U.S. Geological Survey had reported that the initial earthquake was 11 miles deep and 20 miles from Gaziantep, Turkey, a major city and provincial capital.
A solid 6.7-magnitude aftershock followed 10 minutes later, and 20 more aftershocks occurred at varying intervals.
Another quake hit later at a 7.5-magnitude in the same area at a depth of 6 miles.
Video footage showed a news team reporting on the first quake being forced to flee as the second earthquake struck. They were standing in the street in the eastern city of Malatya, already covered in debris and dust when a roar reverberated, and the team ran for safety.
Various countries have offered aid, including the European Union, NATO, and the World Health Organization. U.S. President Joe Biden also promised any and all needed assistance.
The USGS explained that the region is seismically active and the quake was in the vicinity of a triple-junction of tectonic plates. Turkey, situated on top of major fault lines, has seen devastating earthquakes in the past, such as the 18,000 killed in 1999.