The aftermath of the earthquakes in Turkey & Syria

Photo Contribution by Nida Shanar

In February, multiple earthquakes struck Turkey and Syria, largely affecting the Turkish cities Gaziantep and Hatay.

On Feb. 6, an earthquake with a 7.8-magnitude hit regions of Turkey and northwestern Syria, this was followed by another 6.3-magnitude earthquake on Feb. 20, which devastated the entire city of Hatay. Gaziantep Castle, a 2000-year-old historical landmark, was left in ruins.

The earthquakes took the lives of over 50,000 people in Turkey and Syria, making them some of the most fatal natural disasters known in history.

Many countries around the world continue to send help to civilians in need of food, shelter and rescue from the rubble. The aid includes search teams from the EU. There are arrangements for the reconstruction of the homes of people who have been left homeless in the aftermath of the earthquakes, but the process of rebuilding will be lengthy.

Though social media has been useful to gain contact from civilians in need of help, Twitter was shut down in Turkey, which made rescue efforts more difficult. Many successful rescues miraculously took place days after people had waited in the wreckage

Lower magnitude earthquakes and tremors are still taking place and causing damage around multiple cities in southern Turkey.

Turkish citizens have showed resentment toward the municipalities responsible for constructing the now-collapsed buildings, due to the possibility that this enormous destruction could have been avoided. The structure of the buildings in Turkey were poorly designed for a seismically active (prone to earthquakes) zone, making the cities vulnerable to mass destruction after these major earthquakes.

Civilians are angry that the buildings were not constructed with durable architecture or materials suited to survive earthquakes despite Turkey having the technology to monitor seismic activity and avoid catastrophes. The taxes citizens have been paying towards the prevention of damages caused by earthquakes also proved to be inadequate, only amplifying the disappointment of the Turkish people.

Researchers predict that another massive earthquake with a magnitude of about 7.0 will eventually occur in Istanbul. Many civilians are concerned about this news and agree that the loss of such a beautiful and historic city with such a large population would be devastating.

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