Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria have already claimed the lives of more than 26,000 people

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Endorgan announced this Saturday that the death toll had risen to 21,848 in last Monday’s earthquakes, which also rocked Syrian territory, while condemning looting in some areas, Telesur reported.

Endorgan vowed to take concrete steps to begin urban rebuilding in the worst-hit southeastern region within weeks, saying hundreds of thousands of buildings in southern Turkey are uninhabitable.

He also condemned those who robbed or committed other crimes in the earthquake areas, saying they would be punished by the state.

“We have declared a state of emergency,” the Turkish president said during a visit to the disaster area.

“This means that from now on, people involved in looting or kidnapping should know that the firm hand of the state is on their back,” he said.

He added that 160,000 people are currently working in 10 provinces, as well as teams from abroad.

Orkhan Tatar, Director General of the AFAD Earthquake and Risk Reduction Department, said that the duration of the first earthquake was 65 seconds, and the second – 45 seconds.

Meanwhile, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay noted that about 80,000 people are in hospital, and more than a million were left homeless and in temporary shelters.

More than 13 million people from 10 provinces lived in the affected areas, so the number of victims is expected to rise significantly.

There was also a reported lack of basic services such as water, electricity and heating throughout the southeastern region of Turkey; and most hospitals, besides being badly damaged, are over the limit.

Adding at least 5,000 dead and another 7,000 wounded to the previous balance in neighboring Syria, health organizations and activists said.

In its latest report on the number of victims, the Ministry of Health indicated that 1,387 people died and 2,326 were injured, mainly in the provinces of Aleppo, Latakia and Hama. However, there are territories that are not controlled by the government, so the numbers according to various sources are increasing.

Thus, 3,100 victims confirmed by local activists and rescue teams in the areas of Idlib and Aleppo, which are under the control of armed groups, are added to the previous balance, and the Turkish authorities delivered 900 bodies of Syrian refugees who died in their territory.

Turkey earthquake releases 2,000 times more energy than Hiroshima bomb, expert says

“A magnitude 7.8 earthquake has a release of about 3 billion kilojoules, or the energy released in earthquakes is about 2,000 times the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima,” said Bruce Malamud, professor of natural and environmental hazards at King’s College London.

Speaking to the Turkish news agency Anadolu, the expert commented that “another way to look at energy is, by some estimates, the amount of electricity used by Turkey over a period of 13 days.”

Bill McGuire, professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, said the February 6 quakes were so strong because the East Anatolia Fault Zone had not seen a major earthquake in over 200 years.

“This allowed the fault to accumulate stress for a long time, so its sudden release on February 6 was able to generate a large amount of energy and cause strong shocks,” he explained.

He noted that “another reason for the strength of earthquakes is their shallowness, which means that much more of the released seismic energy reached the surface.”

Sadaf Naseem, a geologist from Pakistan, warned that because the region is seismically active, there is a high chance of another earthquake in the same area.

“Turkey sits on the Anatolian Plate, with the Arabian Plate at one end and the Eurasian Plate at the other. Both plates are continuously pushing against the Anatolian plate, so Turkey has a history of high intensity earthquakes.

Source: Juventud Rebelde


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