Earthquakes that killed thousands in Syria and Turkey are among the worst in the last decade. Here are the others.

A series of large and devastating earthquakes has left parts of the Middle East in shambles. On Monday, Syria and Turkey were rocked by one of the deadliest natural disasters to hit neighboring countries in recent years and one of the deadliest earthquake events of the past decade.

From Tuesday, more than 6,000 people have died in southeastern Turkey and northern Syria after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the region the day before. That quake was just the beginning of the latest incident, with another 5.7-magnitude earthquake on Tuesday and hundreds of aftershocks in between. Photos and videos by people at the scene show widespread debris from collapsed buildings and countless people being rescued from crushing debris.

The death toll continues to mount, making Syria and Turkey victims of one of the deadliest earthquake disasters in recent history. Here are the other deadly earthquakes of the past decade.

Residents rescue an injured girl from the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake in the rural town of Jandaris in the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin in the rebel-held part of Aleppo province, February 6, 2023.

RAMI AL SAYED/AFP via Getty Images

Syria and Turkey – at least 6,000 people

Tens of thousands of people have been injured in Syria and Turkey since Monday’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake, when thousands more bodies were recovered. The hardest-hit countries are known for having the “world’s largest refugee population,” according to the UN refugee agency, as Turkey hosts more than 3.5 million refugees seeking shelter from Syria’s civil war.

Ten Turkish provinces are affected by the tremors – and at least 1.7 million of the people living there are Syrian refugees. There are more than 6.8 million internally displaced persons in Syria, as well as 60,000 Palestinian refugees.

The death toll from the earthquake in Afghanistan rises to 1,150
A man is seen inside a collapsed building after an earthquake struck the border provinces of Paktika, Afghanistan, June 22, 2022.

Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Afghanistan – 1,100 people

On June 22, 2022, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit the provinces of Khost and Paktika in eastern Afghanistan. After the disaster, Muhammad Amin Hafiza, head of information and culture in the hard-hit Paktika province, told CBS News that “some families completely disappeared” in his province. It was the deadliest quake to hit the country in 20 years, and it only got worse when a magnitude 4.2 aftershock struck almost exactly the same spot two days later, claiming at least five other lives.

People drive past the remains of the Sacre coeur des Cayes church in Les Cayes August 15, 2021 after an earthquake struck the country’s southwestern peninsula.


Haiti – 2,200 people

A Saturday morning in Haiti quickly descended into turmoil on August 14, 2021 when a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck strong enough to be felt in neighboring countries hit the region. Initial reports indicated that hundreds had been killed, but in just over a week it became clear that more than 2,200 people had been killed. Thousands more were injured and almost 53,000 homes were destroyed.

A man searches for his belongings amid the rubble of his destroyed home in Palu, Central Sulawesi, September 29, 2018 after a powerful earthquake and tsunami struck the area.

BAY ISMOYO/AFP via Getty Images

Indonesia – 4,300 people

The devastation in Indonesia in 2018 was mainly due to the triggering of a tsunami. On September 28 of this year a 7.5 magnitude earthquake off the island of Sulawesi triggered a 10-foot tsunami and several strong aftershocks, including one measuring 6.7 magnitude. According to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, at least 4,340 people are estimated to have died from the earthquake and its torrential aftermath, including at least 1,200 from the tsunami.

KATHMANDU, NEPAL-APRIL 26: Boys resting in the day af sunlight
Boys rest in daylight on the rubble of the former Maju Dega Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal, the day after the earthquake struck, April 26, 2015.

Credit: Kashish Shrestha/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Nepal – 8,800 people

The deadliest earthquake in the past ten years occurred on April 25, 2015 Nepal. A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck that day, quickly becoming the worst to hit the country in more than 80 years and strong enough to be felt in India, Bangladesh, Tibet and Pakistan, and an avalanche on Mount triggering Everest. There was more than two dozen aftershocksincluding one of magnitude 7.3 that happened almost three weeks later.

According to the United Nations, more than 8,800 people lost their lives in the natural disaster. Earthquakes that killed thousands in Syria and Turkey are among the worst in the last decade. Here are the others.

Rick Schindler

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