The United States White House responded to the news of the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit southeast Turkey and Syria early Monday. Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management agency said that the quake killed at least 76 people in seven Turkish provinces. The agency said 440 people were injured.Meanwhile, the death toll in government-held areas of Syria from Monday’s quake climbed to 99, according to Syrian state media citing the Health Ministry.
In addition, at least 334 people were injured in Syria. Earlier, 20 people were reported killed in rebel-held areas of Syria. This raised the overall death toll to a deadly 195 in Turkey and Syria.
White House issues statement
The White House said that it was “profoundly concerned by the reports of today’s destructive earthquake in Turkiye and Syria”. “We stand ready to provide any and all needed assistance,” said the statement. “President Biden has directed USAID and other federal government partners to assess US response options to help those most affected.
We will continue to closely monitor the situation in coordination with the Government of Turkiye,” added the statement. The quake, felt as far away as Cairo in Egypt, and was centered north of the city of Gaziantep in an area about 90 kilometers (60 miles) from the Syrian border. The earthquake came as the Middle East is experiencing a snowstorm that is expected to continue until Thursday.
Turkey sits on top of major fault lines and is frequently shaken by earthquakes. Some 18,000 were killed in powerful earthquakes that hit northwest Turkey in 1999.