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People and Planet: Rough earthquake recovery ahead for Syria

It was 4:16 a.m. in southeastern Turkey. The streets were quiet and the people were asleep. At the same time in northern Syria, families laid in bed equally unaware of what was to come.

It was 4:17 a.m. when all hell broke loose. A deep rumbling, and apartment buildings crumble into hazy streets. Cars are crushed under pieces of debris. 

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake erupted from 11 miles underground in between the Turkish cities of Gaziantep and Kahramanmarasş. Between southeastern Turkey and northern Syria, there have been over 4,000 confirmed dead, with numbers expected to rise and many trapped under the wreckage.

Positioned where the Anatolian and Arabian plates meet, Syria and Turkey are in a prime area for seismic activity and thus the region is no stranger to earthquakes. However, the earthquake recorded early Monday morning was one of the deadliest the world has seen since 2000. On top of this, there are a couple political aspects at play here, but namely Syria’s 12-year civil war and resulting refugee crisis

The Syrian civil war is a complex one, which in part is why the conflict goes on. However, as resilient as the Syrian people have been, the toll the war has taken is palpable.

Statistics from 2021 showed that 14.6 million Syrians are in need of dire humanitarian aid and 75% of households did not have their most basic needs met in 2021. The effects of the war will impact today’s Syrian youth, with 2.5 million refugee children out of school and another 1.6 million in danger of dropping out. 

Even before the most recent earthquake, Syrian hospitals were already struggling with health infrastructure and funding cuts. Now, there are too few resources to take care of both patients in the hospital prior to the earthquake and those in the hospital as a result of it. One doctor in Syria said he has had to make the decision to pull one person off a ventilator to give it to someone else based on who he believed is more likely to survive. 

Poverty and war have swallowed the country, and now one of the largest earthquakes the world has seen in the last 23 years follows. It is easy to feel helpless as one looks on.

This is why it is so important for journalists to keep this earthquake in the news. To keep Syria in the news is to keep a conversation going, which can be difficult to do in the era of the 24-hour news cycle. The more people keep talking, however, the more pressure there is to provide aid that was necessary before the earthquake but is dire now. Syria and Turkey’s respective recoveries will be long and grueling enough already. For this reason, it is extremely important that wealthier nations help out.

Megan Diehl is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views expressed in this homework do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Megan? Email her

Megan Diehl

Assistant Opinion Editor

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