White House ‘profoundly concerned’ by reports of earthquake in Turkey, Syria; 2,300 dead

People and rescue teams try to reach trapped residents inside collapsed buildings in Adana, Turkey, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. A powerful quake has knocked down multiple buildings in southeast Turkey and Syria and many casualties are feared. (IHA agency via AP)

National security adviser Jake Sullivan on Monday said the White House is “profoundly concerned” by reports from Turkey and Syria, where a massive earthquake has killed more than 2,300 people.

“The United States is profoundly concerned by the reports of today’s destructive earthquake in Turkiye and Syria. We stand ready to provide any and all needed assistance,” Sullivan said in a statement.  

The intense 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit before dawn on Monday, shaking much of Turkey and Syria. The quake and its subsequent strong aftershocks brought down hundreds of buildings, leaving many trapped in the wreckage. 

The death toll is expected to rise as rescuers comb the rubble in the coming days. 

President Biden has directed the U.S. Agency for International Development and other government bodies to “assess U.S. response options to help those most affected,” Sullivan said.

The White House will “continue to closely monitor the situation” in coordination with Turkey’s leadership, he added. 

The impact of the quake was reportedly felt as far away as Cairo, Egypt.

Syria is weathering an ongoing civil war, and Turkey is home to a high number of refugees, who are expected to be among those most affected by the earthquake’s damage.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake was followed by a powerful 7.5-magnitude aftershock — the most powerful to hit the region in decades.

The Associated Press contributed to this report, which was updated at 9:47 a.m.

Tags Biden earthquake Istanbul Jake Sullivan Syria Turkey

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