Medical Response to the February 6, 2023, Earthquakes in Hatay: Challenges Faced in the Deadliest Disaster in the History of Türkiye

Tayfur İ., Bayramoğlu B., Şimşek P., GÜNDÜZ A.

Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, vol.18, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 18
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1017/dmp.2024.21
  • Journal Name: Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, PASCAL, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Keywords: disaster, earthquake, emergency care, first response, Kahramanmaraş
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Objective: The Kahramanmaraş earthquakes struck the north-eastern part of Türkiye and Syria on February 6, 2023. It is well known that timely coordination and provision of emergency medical care in the field is particularly important to save lives after earthquakes. This study aimed to identify the challenges faced by medical responders on the ground. Methods: This exploratory-descriptive qualitative study was conducted in Hatay, the province most affected by the earthquakes. Data were collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews and field observations, and then analyzed using thematic analysis approach. Results: The study was carried out with 15 first responders from the medical profession. The study revealed 9 themes of challenges faced by medical responders: providing safety and security, human resources management, meeting personal needs, recording data, communication, patient transport, burial procedures, psychological acumen, and logistical problems. Some problems were resolved after 72 h and some continued until day 7. Conclusions: Inadequate organization of volunteer health workers, communication breakdowns, and logistical problems are some of the main challenges. To address these issues, satellite phones and radio systems can be promoted, as well as disaster-resilient logistical planning and better coordination of volunteers.