A devastating earthquake struck Turkey and Syria on Monday.
Over 15,000 people dead and tens of thousands were injured. The quake, which was one of the strongest to hit the region in a century, struck the Gaziantep province in Turkey and caused thousands of buildings to collapse. The global community has come forward to assist with rescue and recovery efforts, but aid agencies warn that the repercussions in northwest Syria, where millions of vulnerable and displaced people reside, could be catastrophic.
The earthquake struck early in the morning around 4 a.m. and had a magnitude of 7.5. The US Geological Survey (USGS) reported that the quake struck 23 km east of Nurdagi at a depth of 24.1 km. A series of aftershocks followed, with the largest measuring 7.5 in magnitude. The quake also resulted in more than 5,700 buildings collapsing in Turkey.
The time of day and poor weather conditions have contributed to making this earthquake so lethal. With many people in their beds during the quake, many have become trapped under the rubble of their homes. The cold and wet weather has also made rescue and recovery efforts challenging. Temperatures have fallen below zero, and scattered showers and snow in the region have put the lives of those trapped at risk of hypothermia.
Are infrastructures in Syria and Turkey not built to withstand earthquakes?
Local building infrastructure faces questions about its role in the tragedy, as collapsed buildings are suspected to have been constructed pre-1999 or with outdated codes. The design and construction deficiencies in older buildings reveal their inability to endure the intense shocks, leading to the need for active investigations into the matter.
The earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria has left a trail of destruction and loss of life. The global community is working together to assist with rescue and recovery efforts, but the situation in northwest Syria remains critical. The disaster has also shed light on the need for better building infrastructure in the region to prevent such tragedies in the future.
What is an earthquake?
Earthquakes are natural phenomena that can cause widespread destruction and chaos in a matter of seconds. They happen when two tectonic plates suddenly move past each other, releasing an enormous amount of energy in the form of seismic waves that travel through the Earth’s crust. Earthquakes can occur anywhere in the world, but are most common along plate boundaries where tectonic activity is highest.
What to do to stay safe during an earth quake?
Here are a few tips on what to do to be safe during an earthquake:
Drop, Cover, and Hold On: If you are indoors during an earthquake, drop to the ground, take cover under a sturdy table or desk if possible, and hold on until the shaking stops. If you’re outside, move to an open area away from buildings, power lines, and trees.
Stay away from windows: Windows can shatter during an earthquake and cause serious injury. If you’re in a building, stay away from windows and doorways.
Protect your head and neck: Use your arms to protect your head and neck. You can also use a pillow, blanket, or piece of clothing to shield yourself from falling debris.
Practice earthquake drills: Regular earthquake drills can help you and your family stay calm and react quickly in the event of an earthquake.
Secure your home: Secure heavy objects, such as bookshelves and televisions, to prevent them from falling during an earthquake. Make sure that heavy objects are placed low to the ground and secured to the wall.
Have an emergency kit: Store a supply of food, water, and other essentials in a convenient location so that you can quickly grab it if you need to evacuate your home.
Know the safe zones: Identify safe zones in your home, such as doorways or under sturdy tables, where you can take cover if an earthquake occurs.
Earthquakes are a reminder of the power of nature and the importance of being prepared. By following these simple tips, you can increase your chances of staying safe during an earthquake and minimize the impact on your community.