David Muir Describes How Turkey-Syria Earthquakes Stand Out From Other Natural Disasters

By A.J. Katz 

ABC World News Tonight anchor David Muir is on the ground in Osmaniye, Turkey, reporting on the devastation following two of the deadliest earthquakes in decades — one measured at 7.8-magnitude and one at 7.6-magnitude that ripped through southern Turkey and northern Syria on Monday.

As of publication time, there are least 23,000 fatalities as a result of this earthquake, which has destroyed entire towns in the two countries. Tens of thousands of families are homeless as well.

“The scope of the devastation is truly unimaginable until you see it,” Muir told us Friday afternoon. “There are countless families outside during these bitter cold nights huddling around their small fires, keeping warm, and keeping vigil.  They have not given up hope even with time running out.”


This is Muir’s 36th trip overseas since taking the reins of World News Tonight nine years ago. From Afghanistan to Iraq, from Somalia to Madagascar, from Cuba to Turkey. Yet, covering this particular natural disaster has been a unique experience for the veteran newsman.

“In every one of these disasters, the pain is raw and the loss is profound, but here in the this region so many families have already been suffering through years of civil war and conflict,”  said Muir. “Here in Turkey, many of the homes and buildings that were destroyed, were hosting Syrian refugees who thought they had escaped hell already.”

It has been a busy week for Muir. He was in Washington anchoring ABC’s State of the Union coverage on Tuesday night, and crossed the Atlantic shortly after. He anchored World News Tonight from Turkey on Thursday, and will do so again tonight. Muir will also lead a special edition of Nightline from Turkey Friday night.

While it’s tough to be optimistic as devastation and suffering run rampant in the region, Muir has always been one to spotlight positives in his reporting, and does so again here.

“I have been moved by the faces of the rescue workers who stand on the pile, who dig by hand, who periodically call for silence when listening for survivors,” Muir remarked. “They hold up blankets when they discover another loved one lost. There is a quiet dignity and a profound sense of purpose that never seems to get enough attention. They are heroes.”