Earthquake in Turkey and Syria One of the Deadliest in Decades

The death toll in Turkey and Syria after Monday’s earthquake surpassed 20,000, which would make it among the deadliest since 2000.

In Turkey alone, the death toll reached more than 17,000 people by Thursday, matching the toll from the country’s Aug. 17, 1999, earthquake about 60 miles from Istanbul that killed nearly 17,500 people. The latest death toll also surpassed the 16,000 deaths in Japan in 2011, when a magnitude 8.9 earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, swept through the entire Pacific coastline.

Here are some of the deadliest earthquakes since 2000, according to data compiled by the United States Geological Survey:

  • About 298,000 deaths, South Asia, 2004: The most powerful earthquake in four decades ripped across South Asia on Dec. 26, 2004, generating tidal surges that were felt as far away as Africa. The epicenter of the magnitude 9.1 quake was off the northern Indonesian island of Sumatra. The majority of the deaths occurred in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India.

  • About 226,000 deaths, Haiti, 2010: A magnitude 7.0 quake, the worst in the region in over 200 years, struck the Caribbean nation on Jan. 12, 2010, and was followed by several aftershocks. The earthquake devastated Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, and left more than a million people homeless.

  • About 86,000 deaths, Pakistan, 2005: The Pakistan-administered region of Kashmir saw a magnitude 7.6 quake on Oct. 8, 2005, that killed more than 85,000 people, including in neighboring Afghanistan and India.

  • About 88,000 deaths, China, 2008: A magnitude 7.9 earthquake hit a mountainous region outside Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, on May 12, 2008, setting off landslides and destroying almost 80 percent of the infrastructure at the epicenter.

  • About 33,000 deaths, Iran, 2003: A magnitude 6.6 earthquake rocked Bam, an ancient city in southeast Iran, killing more than 30,000 and devastating up to 90 percent of its residential areas. Aftershocks cut power lines and water services. Rescue efforts were delayed for hours, leaving displaced citizens outside in freezing temperatures.

  • About 20,000 deaths, India, 2001: A magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck the western state of Gujarat in January, killing as many as 20,000 people.

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