On February 6, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck central southern Türkiye, close to the Syrian border, followed by dozens of violent aftershocks. The earthquakes have resulted in thousands of deaths in Türkiye and Syria and affected hundreds of thousands of people.
On February 8, two U.S. Agency for International Development Urban Search and Rescue teams arrived in Incirlik to help with rescue and recovery efforts after the devastating earthquakes in Türkiye. U.S. Ambassador to Türkiye Jeff Flake and Mrs. Flake greeted the teams and thanked them for providing urgent support to our NATO Ally.
More than 1,400 emergency response personnel from more than 20 NATO Allies and partners – including invitees Finland and Sweden – are deploying to Türkiye, helping to respond to the devastating earthquakes which struck the country.
On February 6, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “The United States expresses our deep sadness at the tragic loss of life and destruction across Türkiye and Syria from today’s earthquakes. We extend our condolences to the families of those affected and are assessing our comprehensive response options.”
Secretary Blinken continued, “I have directed my team to remain in close contact with our Turkish allies and our humanitarian partners in the coming days to determine what the region needs. Our initial assistance response to Türkiye is already underway, and U.S.-supported humanitarian organizations in Syria are responding to the earthquakes’ effects across the country. We are determined to do all that we can to help those affected by these earthquakes in the days, weeks, and months ahead.”
To date, the United States has deployed more than 150 search-and-rescue personnel, along with teams of canines, to join the life-saving efforts in Türkiye. U.S. teams include experienced emergency managers, hazardous materials technicians, engineers, logisticians, paramedics, and planners, among others – along with 170,000 pounds of specialized tools and equipment.
In Syria, U.S.-funded humanitarian partners like the White Helmets immediately began to assess the impact and needs, and they are coordinating life-saving assistance. The United States is committed to providing humanitarian assistance to help the Syrian people recover from this disaster, just as we have been their leading humanitarian donor since the start of the war – providing more than $15 billion to the Syrian people in Syria and throughout the region. These funds go to the Syrian people, not the regime.