Anatolian Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria: a surprise for buildings, emergency vehicles and tent shelters after the massive earthquake on Monday
Collapsed buildings, emergency vehicles and tent shelters can be seen in new satellite imagery of earthquake-hit towns in Turkey, revealing the damage from Monday’s devastating earthquake.
Researchers say people need to brace themselves for yet more quakes and aftershocks, as well as deteriorating weather. Kelman studies disasters and health at University College London, and says there’s a chance of more damaging earthquakes for weeks and months.
Most of Turkey sits on the Anatolian plate between two major faults: the North Anatolian Fault and the East Anatolian Fault. 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 about 2 centimetres per year along the East Anatolian Fault,” he adds. “Half the length of this fault is lit up now with earthquakes.”
People in Turkey know their vulnerability to earthquakes, says the seismologist and head of the Turkish Earthquake Foundation. Puskulcu, who was in Adana, Tarsus and Mersin last week, said this wasn’t a surprise.
Most of the buildings in the city of Kahramanmaras have suffered little or no damage, although newer areas up the valley have suffered some damage.
Things are worse in Syria, where more than 11 years of conflict have made building standards impossible to enforce. There were buildings that collapsed in the northwestern regions of Syria after the earthquake. Some war-damaged buildings in Syria have been rebuilt using low-quality materials or “whatever materials are available”, says Rothery. “They might have fallen down more readily than things that were built at somewhat greater expense. He says that they have yet to find out.
The weather is going to fall below freezing tonight. It is possible that people who are trapped in the rubble, may freeze to death. So these hazards continue,” he adds.
The girl’s body was brought out of the rubble of the building in Kahramanmaras on Wednesday. She is one of the people who have died in the massive earthquake.
The body of a Syrian refugee believed to be in his 40s was dug out as excavators worked to recover the remains of those who were killed in the earthquake.
Rescuers in the collapsed building were attempting to reach at least one or two people who might be alive. A generator and a pneumatic hand-operated drill were used to power the man who directed it to clear away the rubble.
He appeared to have spotted signs of life beneath the wreckage, but rescuers sent away a waiting ambulance, saying there was still a lot of work to do.
There are hundreds of bodies in a hospital’s mortuary that were not collected by family members because of death, a man volunteering there told CNN on Wednesday.
An Erdogan-Kahramanmaras campaign stop during the 2019 March elections: “We have done what we’ve done”
In one video, taken during a campaign stop ahead of Turkey’s March 2019 local elections, Erdogan listed some of his government’s top achievements — including new housing for the city of Kahramanmaras, also known as Maras, near the epicenter of last week’s quake.
He was accompanied by officials when he visited an emergency relief area, built by the country’s disaster management agency. Row after row of shining white tents could be seen in the sports stadium, destined to house some of the thousands of families who’ve lost their homes.
In a televised message from the relief center, Erdogan said that he intended for the government to rebuild the Kahramanmaras region in one year.
When asked if Erdogan’s government has done enough to help victims, Somezley says, “They have done what they’re able to do.” This is not a time to talk about politics — it’s a time to help people who need it.”
He acknowledged that the initial government response had some problems, but said that the situation was under control. The government is expecting to give 10,000 Turkish liras to affected families.
At the bottom of the city, many people could be heard crying and lamenting by the tumbled buildings where they or their relatives lived until disaster struck.
A few of them held out pictures of their loved ones who are under the rubble, less in hope of a rescue than as an act of remembrance, saying they are gone.
The scale of Turkey’s earthquake crisis has left many families homeless and without food or water: a critic complains of the government’s “centralization”
A three-month state of emergency has been declared in 10 Turkish provinces, and aid agencies have warned of “catastrophic” repercussions in northwest Syria, where millions of vulnerable and displaced people were already relying on humanitarian support.
ANTAKYA, Turkey— Rescue crews on Saturday pulled more survivors, including entire families, from toppled buildings despite diminishing hopes as the death toll of the enormous quake that struck a border region of Turkey and Syria five days ago surpassed 25,000.
The scale of the earthquake made it difficult to get to everyone. Erdogan said nobody would be “left in the streets.”
After initial trading saw rapid declines, a circuit breaker was put in place and the stock exchange closed. The Turkish economy was already reeling from out-of-control inflation.
But critics like Ozel point out that national funds meant for natural disasters like this one were instead spent on highway construction projects managed by associates of Erdogan and his coalition government.
After a catastrophic earthquake in northwestern Turkey killed more than 18,000 people in 1999, authorities imposed an earthquake tax meant to corral billions of dollars’ worth of disaster prevention and relief.
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 matters worse by making it almost impossible for other organizations, civil society, citizens themselves and mayors and municipalities to help.
Erdogan’s centralization of Turkey’s government has meant a plethora of restrictions on how individual cities and aid organizations can operate in the country, hampering overall rescue efforts. Turkey’s embassies and various other nongovernmental organizations are collecting donations internationally.
Ozel believes that an election in June will weaken Erdogan due to inflation in Turkey. “I would expect the government to actually be one of the victims under the rubble of this earthquake,” Ozel predicts.
An 18-year-old high school student, Emrihan Korkmaz, has been working on the aid effort for three days. Schools throughout Turkey have been ordered closed to mourn victims of the earthquake and so that people like Korkmaz can 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. “However we can get it to them, it doesn’t matter. People need food.
The Narli Family in the Nurdagi Municipal Park: A Case Study in the Collapse of a Family of Families after a Tsunami
Dozens of buildings across the city have collapsed. In the city center, a group of residential buildings just west of the Hacı Ali Öztürk mosque appear flattened.
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 large high-rise buildings, located just south of the park, have collapsed. Three more on the northern side of the park have also collapsed.
There is a lot of vehicles 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.
Dramatic rescues were being broadcast on Turkish television, including the rescue of the Narli family in central Kahramanmaras 133 hours after the 7.8-magnitude temblor struck Monday. Nehir Narli was saved by both of her parents.
The family of five, who were trapped in a pile of debris in the town of Nurdagi, were rescued earlier in the day. Rescuers yelled, “God is great!” as the last family member, the father, was lifted to safety.
Rescue of a 3-year-old girl trapped in a collapsed building in Antakya, Syria, after Monday’s earthquake
“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.
In the hours after the earthquake, two people were saved from the rubble in the same hour; one of them was a woman in her 20s. Ahead of her rescue, police announced that people shouldn’t cheer or clap in order to not interfere with other rescue efforts nearby. She had a blanket over her head on the stretcher. Rescuers were comforting each other. Some people yelled “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.
Rescues brought shimmers of joy after Monday’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake, which killed over 25,000 people, was followed by a powerful aftershock that caused the collapse of thousands of buildings.
Not everything ended so well. Rescuers reached a 13-year-old girl who was trapped in the rubble of a collapsed building in Hatay province. But she died before the medical teams could amputate a limb and free her from the rubble, Hurriyet newspaper reported.
The Indian Army’s medical assistance team set up a temporary field hospital in the southern city of Iskenderun, where a main hospital was demolished, as aid continued to arrive.
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. He was given basic first aid, but was not given proper treatment for his injuries.
When I walked out of the rubble: I buried everyone that I lost, then came here,” says Yaira Canbulat, the head of the World Health Organization
I buried everyone that I lost, then came here. Canbulat counted his dead relatives: his daughter is dead and his siblings are dead, his aunt and her daughter are dead and the wife of a family’s son is pregnant.
A graveyard is being built on the outskirts of Annakya. The northeastern edge of the city had pits dug for trucks and ambulances to take body bags to their destinations. Soldiers warned people against taking pictures on the road next to them.
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. By midday on Saturday, as many as 2,000 had been buried, he said.
“People who are coming out from the rubble now, it’s a miracle if they survive. Most of the people who come here are dead, he said.
Temperatures remained below freezing across the large region, and many people have no shelter. The Turkish government has distributed millions of hot meals, as well as tents and blankets, but is still struggling to reach many people in need.
The conflict has isolated many areas and made it hard to get aid in. The UN said that the first earthquake-related aid convoy crossed from Turkey to northwestern Syria on Friday, a day before the disaster arrived.
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. He said there will be a plane carrying an additional 30 tons of medical equipment in the next few days.
The total death toll in Syria’s northwestern rebel-held region has reached 2,166 many of them women and children. The total dead in Syria was 3,553, while in Turkey, officials counted 21,043 dead through Saturday.
An Istanbul Association of Zoning Amnesties (Gaziantep): The Problem of Building Safety Codes and the Impact of the 2018 Erdoseismological Disaster
ISTANBUL. A few years ago, videos surfaced showing Turkey’s President praising the housing projects that collapsed in the earthquakes, which left thousands of people dead.
“We solved the problem of 144,156 citizens of Maras with zoning amnesty,” Erdogan said, using his term for the construction amnesties handed out to allow contractors to ignore the safety codes that had been put on the books specifically to make apartment blocks, houses and office buildings more resistant to earthquakes.
Duvar cited a senior Istanbul city official, Bugra Gokce, who gave a breakdown of the tens of thousands of building amnesty certificates granted before the 2018 general election in 10 provinces struck by the earthquake. The official said that there were more than 40,000 certificates in the Gaziantep province.
The amnesty meant that some builders had to pay a fine but their construction projects could go forward if they didn’t meet code restrictions, according to Turkish media reports.
Some initial problems with the country’s response to the earthquake have been acknowledged, but no government could be ready for a disaster of this magnitude.
The association added, “In our country, zoning amnesties have been one of the most important incentives for illegal construction and have made it uncertain for the society to live in healthy and safe houses.” The practice is used for the sake of political gain, according to the group.