13 million people live in 10 provinces affected by major earthquake in southern Turkey

More than 13 million people live in the provinces affected by the strong earthquake that struck southern Turkey early on Feb. 6. Several structures have been demolished, including hospitals, schools, and two airports. Meanwhile, schools have been suspended for one week throughout the nation until Feb. 13.

Duvar English

The earthquake that struck southern Turkey early on Feb. 6 killed more than 5,400 people and injured thousands of others, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said. “We have been shaken by the biggest disaster after the 1939 Erzincan earthquake,” Erdoğan said. 

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said that the 7.7 magnitude quake struck at 4:17 am local time and was centered in Pazarcık district of Kahramanmaraş province. The quake was followed by 78 aftershocks including magnitudes 6.6 and 6.5 that struck southeastern Gaziantep province. 

The quakes were felt in the nearby provinces which saw several structures demolished. In Hatay, two public hospitals collapsed and the Hatay Airport runway split in half, according to reporting by online news outlet Diken.

After a second major earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 struck the region in the afternoon hours, some parts of the Malatya Airport have also collapsed.

In the Adıyaman province, the municipality building collapsed among other public and civil structures. The quake caused some main roads to develop cracks and damaged nearby houses.

Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez went to Adana to conduct inspections. “There are damages in electricity transmission lines as well as natural gas transmission and distribution lines," said Dönmez as he held meetings with the officials here. Dönmez said that one of the transmission lines carries natural gas to Gaziantep, Hatay, Kilis and Kahramanmaraş and warned that cuts may occur in these provinces. In Hatay, a fire broke out in one of the gas lines.

Malatya governor warned citizens not to drink tap water after the catastrophe to avert risks.

In the provinces of Diyarbakır, Batman, Siirt, Mardin ve Şırnak, local governors stated that education was suspended between Feb. 6-10 to determine the damages in schools. Also, the Education Ministry announced that education would be suspended in the provinces of Kahramanmaraş, Hatay, Adıyaman, and Malatya.

Schools closed nationwide for one week 

Afterwards, Education Minister Mahmut Özer said that schools were suspended for one week throughout the nation until Feb. 13.

Özer also pointed to the harsh weather condition across the country, worsened by the snowstorms. He said that all educational activities have been suspended in order to decrease mobility until the crisis is resolved. He also announced that school buildings and other structures belonging to the ministry will be open 24/7 to those who are in need.

The Council of Higher Education (YÖK) also announced that university education will be suspended in the affected 22 provinces until further notice. According to the press release, university education is suspended in Antalya, Bingöl, Elazığ, Erzincan, Karaman, Kayseri, Konya, Mardin, Mersin, Niğde, Sivas, and Tunceli provinces .

Additionally, Turkey's Student Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM) announced that application dates for several national exams have been changed.

After various social media posts reported damage in the public dormitories, the state-run Student Loans and Dormitories Institution (KYK) stated that there was no significant damage in the dorms under its authorization.

Journalist Nevşin Mengü posted a video on her social media account, displaying the wide destruction throughout the Kahramanmaraş city center.