Image from Google.
On February 6 at 4:17 a.m. local time, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit southeast Turkey and northwest Syria. The death toll has exceeded 47,244 and is continuing to rise. Additionally, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake occurred on February 20 in Hatay province, located in southern Turkey. “Even though my family doesn’t live in Damascus, Syria I do have relatives there. It was horrifying hearing the news and to tell the truth it got us really scared when they couldn’t answer us (they don’t typically have Wi-Fi there)” explains former Washington High School student Aisha Tarakji, who is of Syrian descent and a college student. “I was really focused on all my family’s friends and other relatives. People have lost their homes and their families,’’ explains Aisha.
However, it has been difficult to send aid to Syria because of the tense relationship between western countries and president Bashar Al-Assad and the damaged route leading to the Bab-Al-Hawa crossing, a humanitarian aid corridor. “It’s unfair,” says Aisha. “Those people have been really affected by this natural disaster and it shouldn’t be something to think about when it comes to helping people in need.”
“Turkey is such an amazing place,” says Sonia Hamid, a senior who has visited Turkey and whose origins are from Afghanistan. “There is so much rich history in almost every corner, the food is incredible, and the people are so amazing and welcoming. Going to Turkey was the closest thing I got to experiencing what my home country is like. When I heard about the earthquake I was heartbroken and felt so helpless. It wasn’t too long ago when I was just there. My heart goes out to the people and the families that were affected by the earthquake. We all need to come together and do as much as we can to help out in every way.”
Many organizations like the Red Crescent have helped both countries. In Turkey, the organization has sent over 5,000 workers and volunteers to ten affected provinces with food and basic aid materials to assist individuals who have been injured or evacuated. They have also served over 31 million hot meals to people outside and in emergency shelters. To address the increasing demand for blood, the Turkish Red Crescent has transported its national blood stock to the affected areas and is encouraging people all around Turkey to donate blood. A team of 4,000 volunteers and personnel has been providing help in Syria’s most badly impacted areas. Around 37,000 people have received medical care and medication from them, with medical units providing initial treatment, emergency evacuation, and hospital transportation. Volunteers have also provided over 630,000 relief goods such as food, water, necessities, and hygiene kits. Furthermore, they have been assisting people who have been separated from their loved ones due to the situation.
The catastrophe emphasizes the need for emergency preparedness and response as well as the area’s earthquake susceptibility. For the afflicted communities to heal and rebuild after the earthquake’s damage, ongoing support, and aid will be needed.
While the mechanisms causing earthquakes in Syria, Turkey, and California differ, they do share significant characteristics in terms of damage and destruction. Both regions are prone to earthquakes, and the intensity of the damage produced by earthquakes is determined by criteria such as the magnitude of the earthquake, the closeness of the epicenter to populous areas, and the building and infrastructure construction standards in the affected areas. California is also vulnerable to earthquakes of varying magnitudes, including shallow and deep earthquakes. Shallow earthquakes are more destructive than deep earthquakes because they occur closer to the Earth’s surface and can inflict major damage to buildings and infrastructure. Deep earthquakes, on the other hand, are less damaging but can still be felt over a wider area. To tackle earthquake hazards, proactive measures such as earthquake upgrades to current buildings, designing earthquake-resistant designs for new buildings, and deploying early warning systems to advise residents of approaching quakes must be implemented. Fortunately, this state has made great progress in earthquake safety and preparedness over the years, with numerous groups and authorities cooperating to reduce hazards and protect public safety. Nonetheless, additional efforts are required to address the ever-changing hazard of earthquakes and ensure that California is appropriately equipped to deal with them in the future.
Sanam is a senior at Washington High School. She was born and raised in Fremont, California and this is her first year at The Hatchet. Some topics she is interested in writing about are history, food and culture, and politics. In her free time, she likes to read mostly about psychology, history, and mystery. She also enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with her family. She plans to study abroad for college and find a major that she is passionate about.