DAA Daily

Two Earthquakes Leave Turkey in Pieces

Defne Eldem, Arts & Entertainments Editor, The Pawprint DAA

On February 6, at at 4 am local time, two tectonic plates slide past one another 12 miles beneath southern Turkey and northern Syria, resulting in a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. The quake was the biggest to hit Turkey in more than 80 years. Then, nine hours later, a second earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 occurred in the same area.

In an already fragile area, the double dose of violent shaking caused thousands of structures to collapse and killed almost 40,000 people. There are currently tens of thousands of Syrian refugees living in Gaziantep, which is close to the epicenter of the earthquakes. The Syrian city of Aleppo, which has been completely decimated by civil war, was also heavily affected.

The biggest concerns are and will continue to be the loss of life and providing humanitarian relief to survivors. However there are other effects of this earthquake:

First off, the majority of people were inside the thousands of demolished buildings because the original earthquake occurred when many people were still inside their homes. For the next few days, search and rescue activities will continue and have continued . Later, focus will switch to recovery, and eventually, infrastructure that has been damaged or destroyed will be rebuilt. The effects on people’s bodies and minds will be far more profound and pervasive. International donors and NGOs will need to apply the lessons learned from prior sudden onset disasters in the days, weeks, and months to come. These lessons emphasize the importance of coordinating aid, fostering community resilience, and utilizing and enhancing local response mechanisms.

Second, this occurred at a period of winter in a place where it is common for temperatures to fall below freezing. Over the weekend, snow covered the area, and on Monday afternoon, chilly rain fell over the wreckage as temperatures dipped to almost freezing. Despite the fact that teams for search and rescue and humanitarian help have been sent from 45 different nations, including two 79-person search and rescue teams and a US Disaster Assistance Response Team, winter weather will make these activities more difficult.

Third, because of how powerful the earthquakes were, entire communities were turned to ruins. In addition to the deaths that have resulted from this, the extent of the destruction means that all relief operations will be difficult due to blocked roads, broken bridges, communications and power outages, shortages of food and water, and other essential disruptions.

Overall, the next few days are critical in carrying out these operations and considering these factors as rescue teams from all over the world aim to help Turkey recover.

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