Canada stood ready to provide help in the aftermath of a deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked Turkey and Syria, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday, with over 2,300 people reported dead.
Authorities feared the death toll could climb as rescue workers and residents searched the rubble of toppled buildings for survivors.
Trudeau took to Twitter and reached out to Turkey during such a catastrophic time.
The reports and images from Turkey and Syria are devastating. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by these major earthquakes, and our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones. Canada stands ready to provide assistance.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) February 6, 2023
The U.S. Geological Survey measured Monday’s quake at 7.8, with a depth of 18 kilometres. Hours later, a 7.5 magnitude quake struck more than 100 kilometres away.
The second jolt was considered an aftershock because it took place on the same fault line as the first, according to a USGS seismologist.
Global Affairs Canada did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday about whether any Canadians were affected.
The quake, which was centred on Turkey's southeastern province of Kahramanmaras, piled more misery on a region shaped on both sides of the border by more than a decade of civil war in Syria.
Thousands of buildings were reported collapsed in a wide area extending from Syria’s cities of Aleppo and Hama to Turkey’s Diyarbakir, more than 330 kilometres to the northeast.
The Conservatives would support "any effort by Canadians and the Canadian government to provide assistance," Conservative foreign affairs critic MP Michael Chong said in a tweet.
NDP foreign affairs critic MP Heather McPherson urged the federal government to send immediate humanitarian support. The crisis in Syria was already underfunded, she said in a tweet, and many Syrians were waiting for resettlement.
The region in Turkey hit by the earthquake sits on top of major fault lines and is frequently shaken by earthquakes. Some 18,000 people were killed in similarly powerful earthquakes that hit northwest Turkey in 1999.