The scale of the earthquake and its impact on the displaced populations in the region of the tethered city of Anatolian Baghdad
Turkey’s government said search and rescue teams have pulled more than 8,000 people from underneath the rubble of thousands of toppled buildings in the past two days. But worries grew that survivors may succumb to their injuries or hypothermia, due to worsening weather conditions in the region.
The regions affected by Monday’s earthquake are home to an estimated 13.5 million people, including as many as 2 million refugees, primarily from Syria. More than 25,000 people have been killed by the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, according to The Associated Press.
Erdogan and aid workers said the scale of the quake was so large that it was difficult to reach everyone everywhere. Erdogan said nobody would be “left in the streets.”
Hamideh was waiting to hear if her son survived when she stood near the seven-story residential building that used to house her family.
Earthquake squeezing in Turkey, and what will it take to bring a people out of limbo after a large earthquake
The first 72 hours after a disaster are important for survivors to be rescued. In neighboring Syria, the government has blamed Western sanctions for hampering relief efforts, but the U.S. says sanctions do not include humanitarian assistance. Even though northern Syria lacks heavy equipment and other infrastructure to help the hundreds of thousands of people who were displaced by the earthquake, the only road from Turkey to that region has been damaged.
The region was beset by Syria’s twelve year civil war, which has caused millions of people to flee and left them dependent on aid. The fighting sent millions more to seek refuge in Turkey.
More than 360,000 people who were temporarily displaced by the disaster have been accommodated in more than 70,000 tents, according to Turkey’s emergency management agency.
Rescuers are digging through concrete rubble to find survivors after the earthquake flattened buildings and killed more than one person. Nature spoke to five researchers about the activity that is taking place and what it will mean in the coming days.
The North Anatolian fault and East Anatolian fault are the two major faults on the Anatolian plate. The tectonic plate that carries Arabia, including Syria, is moving northwards and colliding with the southern rim of Eurasia, which is squeezing Turkey out towards the west, says David Rothery, a geoscientist at the Open University in Milton Keynes, UK. Turkey is moving west along the East Anatolian Fault at about 2 centimetres per year. “Half the length of this fault is lit up now with earthquakes.”
In 1999, a magnitude-7.4 earthquake hit 11 kilometres southeast of Izmit, Turkey, killing more than 17,000 people and leaving more than 250,000 homeless. Turkish government introduced new buildings codes and compulsory earthquake insurance after the tragedy. Many of the buildings built before 2000 were damaged by this week’s earthquake, says a civil engineer at Boazii University.
A study was published last March in Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, which suggested that the centre of the city of Gaziantep would experience moderate to severe damage from an earthquake. This is because most existing buildings are low-rise brick structures that are constructed very close to each other.
Things are worse in Syria, where more than 11 years of conflict have made building standards impossible to enforce. A large earthquake struck northwestern Syria, with buildings collapsing. In Syria, some war- damaged buildings have been rebuilt using low-quality materials. It’s possible they fell down more readily than things built at a higher cost. We are yet to find out, he says.
The weather is expected to be below freezing tonight. People who are trapped in the rubble are likely to freeze to death if they are rescued. These are the risks that keep happening, he adds.
Rescue crews braved freezing temperatures to pull bodies from the rubble of thousands of buildings that have toppled throughout southern Turkey and northern Syria. The critical time window for survivors from disasters has passed since the earthquake, and experts say most survivors will be found during this time.
The earthquake-induced destruction of An Takya and Gaziantep: How many buildings did you evacuate? And why did you choose to evacuate Turkey?
The stock exchange in Istanbul closed due to rapid declines when they reached 7%. The Turkish economy was already reeling from out-of-control inflation.
Critics like Ozel point out that the national funds meant for natural disasters, like this one, were spent on highway construction projects by Erdogan’s associates.
In 1999 an earthquake in northwestern Turkey killed more than 18,000 people and caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage.
Ozel says it’s not just a “near-total incompetence on preparedness on the part of the government” in responding to this week’s earthquake. He says the government is making it nearly impossible for other organizations and citizens to help with the situation.
A lot of restrictions on how individual cities and aid organizations can operate in the country has been caused by the centralization of Turkey’s government. (Turkey’s embassies, meanwhile, along with an array of nongovernmental organizations and cultural associations, are collecting donations internationally.)
With an election expected by June, Ozel says Erdogan has already been weakened by out-of-control inflation in Turkey. The government would probably be one of the victims under the rubble of the earthquake.
An 18-year-old high school student, Emrihan Korkmaz, has been working on the aid effort for three days. The schools were ordered closed to mourn the victims of the earthquake in order to have people like Korkmaz help out.
“We’ve managed to load 18 semitrucks and send them to the earthquake zone. They’re filled with blankets, clothes, but there is a more urgent need for food,” he says, as he loads a box underneath a banner with the image of Erdogan hanging from the ceiling. We can get it to them, that’s all. People need food.
“They’ve done what they’re capable of, and that’s what they were asked to do,” says Somezley. This is not a time to talk about politics — it’s a time to help people who need it.”
Tens of thousands of buildings have been destroyed. Many residents from the most affected areas, including An Takya and the satellite villages around Gaziantep, moved to the city center of Gaziantep.
The debris of those two buildings, four and six stories tall, litter the street. One of the roofs appears to remain intact, despite the building underneath collapsing.
The town’s “Great Garden,” normally a verdant green space with benches and shops, is now full of tents, likely to shelter survivors and emergency crews.
At least two high-rise buildings have collapsed. The northern part of the park has collapsed.
A significant number of vehicles are seen in the area. Like in other parts of the Nurdagi, some of the buildings that are still standing have a significant amounts of debris surrounding them.
The situation in Gaziantep and Hatay, Turkey, as a soldier described by Faris, an active member of the Turkish military
“There’s nothing we can eat here” is how a soldier named Faris describes the situation. “There’s no gas, no heating system, no electricity. We don’t have money or any of our cards.”
He asks to be identified only by his first name because he is still an active member of the Turkish military and risks punishment if he criticizes the government.
Many hundreds of people in these camps are from villages surrounding the cities of Gaziantep and Hatay. In villages such as Nurdagi, Islahiye and Pazarcik, small satellite districts, entire streets and neighborhoods have collapsed into rubble.
A rescue worker named Ozgur said late Thursday night that he no longer expected to find someone alive under the rubble. He works in construction and is afraid of reprisal if he provides assistance without government approval, so he needs to be identified by his first name.
He pointed to the collapsed six-story building in front of him with 30 to 40 people under it. “But none of them are going to come out alive.”
Many politicians and people in the public are opposed to the organization’s response to the crisis.
Faris’ family can’t access the bathroom for the lines, because there aren’t enough facilities at the municipal stadium.
Tents and tents left by a collapsed home, and displaced people in Gaziantep, Turkey: The perspective of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party
He and his family have purple circles under their eyes as a result of being hit by falling rubble. Their hands are covered in deep gashes from where they dug each other out from their collapsed home, their feet cut from when they finally made it out and had to find their way through the rubble in the cold without shoes.
They were told by the police that they had to leave, and that they could find a place to stay in Gaziantep. Now, Faris says he regrets the decision to come.
Kurdish migrant families often use the tents that have been set up there. Genco says that farmers have been abandoned by the government and they have moved to this field. In their impoverished neighborhood of Sekiz Subat, less than 2 miles away, they say no one has come to inspect or repair their homes, damaged by the earthquake.
Hayat Gezer, a group member with a traditional Kurdish tattoo on her chin and black headscarf, says the group is dealing with more stress due to legal problems. She says many community members have been imprisoned for various crimes, from theft to aiding andbetting terrorism.
Southeastern Turkey is a heavily Kurdish region, and the Turkish government has been involved in a four-decade-long conflict there with the armed separatist group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). This has led to persecution of many Kurds for alleged links to the group.
The Narli family in Kahramanmaras: a desperate camp to save a soldier from the enemy’s life
There is desperation in this camp. At one point, a young man tries to take bread from his neighbor’s tent; a violent fight ensues. Demir has to hold the young man back.
The Hunger and cold made those in the camp highly critical of the Turkish government. The soldier says he will never vote again for the president, who is up for reelection this year.
The rescue of the Narli family in Kahramanmaras, which took 133 hours to complete, was broadcast on Turkish television. First, Nehir Narli was saved by her father, then her mother.
The rescue of five members of a family from a mound of debris earlier in the day came after that, TV network HaberTurk reported. Rescuers cheered and chanted, “God is Great!” The father, the last family member, was lifted to safety.
“In some parts of our settlements close to the fault line, we can say that almost no stone was left standing,” he said earlier Saturday from Diyarbakir.
Intubated girl rescued from the debris of a collapsed building in the local city of Hatay after a strong earthquake on Monday
A woman in her 20’s who had been trapped in the rubble in Elbistan since the earthquake was freed in the 132nd hour after another person was rescued at the same site. Ahead of her rescue, police announced that people shouldn’t cheer or clap in order to not interfere with other rescue efforts nearby. She was on a stretcher with a blanket over her. Rescuers were hugging. Some shouted “God is great!”
Just an hour earlier, a 3-year-old girl and her father were pulled from debris in the town of Islahiye, also in Gaziantep province, and soon after a 7-year-old girl was rescued in the province of Hatay.
Millions of people have been homeless and thousands of buildings have collapsed after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake and powerful aftershock of Monday.
Some things did not end well. Rescuers reached a 13-year-old girl inside the debris of a collapsed building in Hatay province early Saturday and intubated her. Hurriyet newspaper reported that the medical teams could not free her from the rubble after she died.
A group of 99 members of the Indian Army’s medical assistance team started treating injured patients in a temporary field hospital in Iskenderun when the main hospital was destroyed.
Wincing in pain, he said he had been rescued from his collapsed apartment building in the nearby city of Antakya within hours of the quake on Monday. But after receiving basic first aid, he was released without getting proper treatment for his injuries.
The first day of operation of a Makeshift Graveyard in Antakya, Turkey, according to Prime Minister Bashar Assad
I buried everyone who I lost, then I came here. Canbulat said, counting his dead relatives: “My daughter is dead, my sibling died, my aunt and her daughter died, and the wife of her son” who was 8 ½ months pregnant.
A large makeshift graveyard was under construction on the outskirts of Antakya on Saturday. The northeastern edge of the city has a field filled with pits as trucks and ambulances loaded with body bags arrive. Soldiers directing traffic on the busy adjacent road warned motorists not to take photographs.
A worker with Turkey’s Ministry of Religious Affairs who did not wish to be identified because of orders not to share information with the media said that around 800 bodies were brought the cemetery on Friday, its first day of operation. He said as many as 2,000 had been buried by midday on Saturday.
Many people have no shelter due to the cold temperatures. The Turkish government has handed out millions of hot meals, but is still unable to reach many people in need.
President Bashar Assad and his wife have visited injured quake victims in a hospital in the coastal city of Latakia, a base of support for the Syrian leader.
The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, arrived in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo on Saturday, bringing with him 35 tons of medical equipment, state news agency SANA reported. The additional 30 tons of equipment will arrive on another plane, he said.