- The Washington Times - Monday, February 6, 2023

President Biden has directed the federal government to assess how the U.S. can help those most affected by massive earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

Mr. Biden said U.S. teams are deploying to support Turkish search-and-rescue efforts and efforts to aid the displaced.

Jill and I were deeply saddened by the news of the devastating earthquakes that have thus far claimed thousands of lives in Turkiye and Syria,” Mr. Biden said, using a formal name for Turkey and referring to first lady Jill Biden. “My administration has been working closely with our NATO Ally Turkiye, and I authorized an immediate U.S. response. At my direction, senior American officials reached out immediately to their Turkish counterparts to coordinate any and all needed assistance.”

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan earlier said the U.S. is “profoundly concerned” by reports of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake shortly after 4 a.m. local time near Gaziantep in south-central Turkey, followed by another powerful quake in the afternoon.

He said Mr. Biden ordered the U.S. Agency for International Development and other agencies to assess aid options.

The initial earthquake was the most powerful to hit Turkey in decades. The death toll exceeded 2,000 and was expected to rise.

SEE ALSO: Powerful quake rocks Turkey and Syria, kills more than 3,400

The White House said the U.S. would remain in touch with Turkish officials as the situation unfolded.

“Our hearts and our deepest condolences are with all those who have lost precious loved ones, those who are injured, and those who saw their homes and businesses destroyed,” Mr. Biden said.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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