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Earthquakes Strike

FINDING HELP People collect bags of wood from aid workers in Turkey’s Hatay region on February 7. Firewood is needed for warmth during the freezing nights. BURAK KARA—GETTY IMAGES

Rescue and relief efforts are underway in Turkey and Syria, after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the region on February 6. Another quake hit nine hours later. At press time, more than 20,000 people had died. Thousands of buildings have been destroyed.

In all, the quakes may have affected some 23 million people, the World Health Organization (WHO) says. Turkey is home to millions of refugees from war-torn Syria. Millions more Syrians live in poverty in their home country. “This is a crisis on top of multiple crises,” Adelheid Marschang says. She’s a senior emergency officer with the WHO.

Earthquakes are common in the region, which sits along major fault lines. But these are the worst quakes there in decades.

Teams from nearly 30 countries have gone to Turkey and Syria to help. So far, thousands of people have been rescued. Medics are working around the clock to take care of the wounded, says Sebastien Gay of Doctors Without Borders.

A convent in Aleppo, Syria, opened its doors. “We wanted to make sure that everybody who was scared or lost their house or was on the streets could find shelter here,” Brother George Sabah said.

Stop and Think! Why do news organizations report on events from around the world? How might these events affect people living in the United States?