Updates On The Earthquake In Turkey And Syria The Final Data And The Point On Relief Efforts In The Most Affected Areas

Several days after the violent earthquake that struck the territory between Turkey and Syria on 6 February, causing the death of around 45,000 people to date, let us analyze the definitive data on the earthquake, the situation in the most affected areas, the enormous fractures and damage caused by the earthquake.

Updates On The Earthquake In Turkey And Syria The Final Data And The Point On Relief Efforts In The Most Affected Areas

To date, there are about 45,000 victims of the earthquake that hit the area between Turkey and Syria on February 6 , in what Turkish President Erdogan has defined as one of the most devastating earthquakes in the country's history.
A balance that seems destined to increase , unfortunately, since the tremors in the area continue, causing the collapse of new buildings and new missing people trapped in the rubble. Last in chronological order, the earthquake of magnitude 6.3 which on the evening of 20 February made the province of Hatay, already badly hit, tremble violently.

Such a powerful destructive event brings with it a trail of questions about what happened. In this article, we answer some questions that have arisen following the earthquake and take stock of the situation in the affected areas.

What caused the earthquakes in Turkey?

The first devastating quake, of magnitude 7.9  occurred at 4:17 local time (at 2:17 Italian time) at a depth of 20 kilometers , according to data reported by INGV . The epicenter is located 23 kilometers east of Nurdagi, in the Turkish province of Gaziantep.
A violent seismic sequence followed in the following hours, reaching a peak of magnitude of 7.5 at 13:24 local time , nine hours after the first big shock.

The East Anatolian fault , about 500 km long, was triggered at the point where the Anatolian, Arabian and African blocks converge, with a transcurrent movement (ie the plates slide side by side). The second, huge shock would instead have been triggered by another fault , that of Sürgü .

How many meters did the tectonic plates move?

The sliding of the plates has caused two deep fractures in the earth's crust, which can be seen in the impressive aerial and satellite images, which show deviated tracks and roads .
Several days after the earthquake, it is possible to quantify the extent of the shifting of the tectonic plates, through satellite images and surveys on the affected areas.

The aftershocks mainly caused two fractures: one that extends for 300 km in a north-easterly direction and records a reciprocal displacement between the plates of 5 meters and a subsequent one, of 125 km , which caused a displacement between the plates of 7 meters .
The movement between the plates has generated deep fissures along the surrounding area, which can also be seen from the aerial images of the cultivated fields , furrowed by a real gash in the ground.

The current situation on relief and the death toll

But what is the current situation in the areas affected by the earthquake?

Turkey's emergency management agency (AFAD) said 32,000 people were involved in search and rescue of the missing, along with 8,294 international rescuers.
Since February 19, however, the Turkish government has announced that searches are continuing only in the areas most affected in the two provinces epicenter of the earthquake of Kahramanmaras  and Hatay , whose capital is Antioch.

The official toll from Ankara speaks of 40,642 dead, but the number is destined to rise given the high number of missing and seriously injured. In fact, millions of people would be displaced between Turkey and Syria. The victims, including the already devastated Syrian country, would exceed 45,000 people . The damage to the buildings is enormous and the damage to the cultural heritage has also been enormous.

Comparison with earthquakes of similar magnitude in the last 20 years

In the last twenty years, there have been earthquakes of a similar magnitude, or greater, which have had equally devastating effects on the affected populations.
Below is the list of earthquakes of similar magnitude in the last twenty years, which have recorded a large number of people who died:

  1. 2001, El Salvador, magnitude 7.7 (944 victims)
  2. 2005, Pakistan, magnitude 7.6 (73,000 victims)
  3. 2008, Sichuan-China, magnitude 7.9 (70,000 victims)
  4. 2009, Padang, Indonesia magnitude 7.6 (1117 fatalities)
  5. 2010, Haiti magnitude 7 (250,000-300,000 victims)
  6. 2010, Sumatra magnitude 7.7 (450 victims)
  7. 2011, Eastern Turkey, magnitude 7.2 (604 fatalities)
Turkey is accustomed to earthquakes, sandwiched between the Anatolian, Arabian and African plates. In particular, a violent earthquake measuring 7.9 struck the country in 1999, causing 17,000 deaths. Since then, the Turkish government has introduced stringent regulations for the construction of new buildings and for the safety of old ones.
But the tragic toll of victims and damage to buildings in recent days has shown that the road to prevention is still long and fundamental to mitigate the effect of violent earthquakes and safeguard human lives.

But is it true that earthquakes always happen at night?

The fact that earthquakes occur mainly during the night is nothing more than a misperception. In fact, according to scientists, there is no particular explanation behind the time of day when earthquakes occur.

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