By Amber Nodes
In the early morning of Feb. 6, a level 7.7 magnitude earthquake hit Turkey and north-west Syria, killing many in the strongest earthquake recorded for Turkey in almost 85 years, OCHA reported on the day of the catastrophe.
Another earthquake of a 6.3 magnitude devastated the Turkey and Syria border on Feb. 20, killing six people and injuring more.
As of Feb. 21, the death toll has reached over 46,000, most of which are in Turkey reports AP News.
Since Feb. 6, the United Nations has launched an emergency response, the World Health Organization has launched a $43 million dollar appeal and the US Department of State announced $85 million dollars in aid to help these countries in turmoil.
“My heart goes out to the people of Turkey and Syria in this hour of tragedy,” said UN Secretary-General Gutierrez in a statement. “The United Nations is fully committed to supporting the response. Our teams are on the ground assessing the needs and providing assistance.”
The response from the Turkish government may have been inadequate, reports Forbes, due to the Turkish government not allocating more responsibility to their highly trained military to give aid and transport.
According to CNN, the original earthquake had a magnitude of 7.8, and aftershocks of 6.7 and 7.5 followed. Hundreds of aftershocks have been recorded, thousands of buildings have been toppled and responders are working to pull survivors out from the rubble.
Most rescues happen in the first 24 hours, reports ABC, but sometimes under certain conditions, people can survive more than a week under the rubble. Experts say that the major way to get help when trapped is to somehow communicate like screaming or making noise.
Dr. Stephen Morris, a professor with disaster-response experience, told ABC, “Getting the message that you're there and you're still alive out is what gets people rescued.”
In some places in Turkey, the temperature has dipped to freezing, which can also impact survival, reports ABC.
"So, a natural disaster is something that leaves us all feeling helpless, in general, just by virtue of what it is," said a professor of psychiatry, Dr. Emanuel Maidenberg, to ABC News.
According to NorthJersey.com, New Jersey residents can help by donating to local charities like Embrace Relief and Swasia.
According to the outreach director of the Turkish Cultural Center in NJ, Veysel Ucan, callers to the center are directed to Embrace Relief. He also added that people are calling to ask about how to get information regarding family and friends, especially after seeing videos and pictures of destroyed buildings, and phone service may not work in all affected areas.
NorthJersey.com reports three organizations seeking help from New Jersey residents: www.embracerelief.org, which is going to help supply citizens of Turkey with tents, blankets and coats, www.swasia.org, which is providing necessities to Northern Syrians, and a freight transportation company that is seeking tents, blankets and other helpful items to donate. The company will be at 256 Paterson Plank Road in Carlstadt based in Trailer 4 during weekdays through 5 p.m.