Area near quake’s epicenter is home to thousands of Syrian refugees

(Photo: Twitter)
The deadly earthquake on Monday in Turkey, which was felt in Syria, Lebanon, and Israel, was the strongest ever recorded in Turkey, and the area near its epicenter hosts hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.اضافة اعلان

At magnitude 7.8, Monday’s quake had the same magnitude as one that killed about 30,000 people in December 1939 in northeast Turkey, Stephen Hicks, a research fellow in seismology at Imperial College London, wrote on Twitter.

The Turkish provinces of Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras that surround the recent earthquake’s epicenter are not far from the Syrian border and host hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced people.

Turkey is home to 3.6 million Syrian refugees, the largest number in the world from the Syrian civil war, according to the UNHCR. The agency runs one of its largest operations from the city of Gaziantep.

People fleeing Syria’s civil war began streaming into Turkey in 2011. In 2016, the country began building three “container cities” that repurposed old shipping containers as homes for refugees. The containers in Kahramanmaras can house up to 25,000 people and are air-conditioned, but the homes are meant to be temporary.

Meanwhile, Syrian refugees have transformed the city of Gaziantep. About 500,000 live there and in its surrounding region. Soap-makers have moved their factories from Aleppo there, Bloomberg reported in December.

Dan Stoenescu, the European Union envoy to Syria, said on Twitter that millions of refugees and migrants were at risk and noted that in nearby northern Syria, “many live in tents & unsafe buildings,” adding that the EU “will assess the situation & as always is ready to help people in need.”

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