On the early hours of February 6, 2023, Türkiye was rocked by a devastating earthquake of magnitude 7.8, shaking the earth and breaking hearts. The serene life in cities like Kahramanmaraş and its surroundings was suddenly disrupted by a force that laid waste to homes, dreams, and families. The earthquake, the largest since 1939, left a trail of destruction with an estimated damage of over $163.6 billion and left about 1.5 million people homeless.
The toll of this catastrophe was immense, 53,537 lives were lost in Türkiye, while Syria mourned between 5,951 and 8,476 victims. Over 121,704 people were injured, and 297 went missing. As rescuers navigated through the rubble, survivors shared stories of loss, courage, and community. Among the ruined buildings were not only homes but also the foundations of countless lives, each with its own story.
Now, exactly one year later, the scars in the cities might be slowly healing, but the scars in people’s hearts will never fully fade. The empty chairs at dining tables, the unanswered questions, and the silence following children’s laughter are silent witnesses to the pain that is still palpable.
Yet, amidst the tragedy, a light of hope and resilience also shines. Communities have come together, hand in hand, heart to heart, to rebuild and remember. In every reconstructed stone and in every newly planted seed, the memories of those we lost live on. We must never forget. The stories of courage, love, and community will continue to resonate, as a lasting tribute to the unbreakable human spirit. The victims of the earthquake in Türkiye and Syria will forever be a part of us, rooted in our memory and in the soul of every rebuilt city.