20,000 fatalities reported so far from the massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the region of Cilicia and northern Syria, with epicenter in the province of Gaziantep (Aintab), in southern Turkey, on early Monday, February 6.
Following the devastating earthquake, His Holiness Catholicos Aram I has remained in constant contact with the spiritual and lay leadership of the Armenian community in Syria to closely monitor the aftermath. According to the latest update, the Armenian community in Aleppo had four victims. It also bore the most substantial structural damage, including the historical church of Forty Martyrs, while Latakia and Kessab suffered relatively mild damage.
The local Armenian leadership has set up seven shelters for those in need to find refuge. The Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia has allocated financial assistance to procure food for the sheltered families.
His Holiness Aram I has also sent a letter of condolences to the president of Syria Bashar al Assad and expressed his solidarity with its citizens.
According to the report of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, a couple from the Armenian community of Malatya perished amid the collapse of their home and the church of Forty Martyrs in Iskenderun also suffered damages.