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Devastating Earthquakes Impact Already-Vulnerable Refugees

By February 8, 2023No Comments

People surveying damage after earthquake

Recently, in the early morning, many Western New Yorkers woke up to their beds, tables, or water glasses mysteriously shaking. Shortly after, reports confirmed a 3.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the region, the epicenter located in West Seneca.

While it certainly was a new experience for many and worthy of watercooler conversations throughout the day, we want to ensure the devastating effects of the 7.8, and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes that same day in Turkey and Syria don’t go unnoticed. Many local immigrants and refugees have families in those areas, adding to the level of concern.

The tragic earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria have impacted some of the most susceptible groups in the world. Turkey is the world’s largest refugee host country, with approximately 3.6 million Syrian refugees inhabiting the nation following displacement by the ongoing Syrian Civil war over the last decade. According to UNICEF, Syrian refugees located in Northwest Syria and Turkey are among the most vulnerable people affected.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake centered in the Pazarcik district of Turkey’s Kahramanmaras province, one of the most powerful in the last century, was followed hours later by a second 7.6 magnitude tremor in the same region. Also, 125 aftershocks measuring 4.0 or greater have been reported. Harsh winter conditions have complicated ongoing rescue efforts, while over 17,500 have been reported dead, and tens of thousands more left injured or homeless.

The New York Times has ongoing coverage of rescue efforts on the ground, and you can click here for updates.