Monday, February 13, 2023

Something About Turkish Earthquake Damages

Lost, vaded, broken, dead within an hour.

More than 36,000 people were killed and tens of thousands injured after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck southern and central Turkey and western Syria on February 6.  Its epicenter was west of Gaziantep, Turkey, roughly 700 miles southwest of Istanbul.

Medievalists reported the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) agency reported several historic sites has been damaged, but specific details of the extent of the destruction are still unknown.

Architectural Digest further noted (citing a New York Times article) the damaged sites "speak to concerns regarding the preservation of historic sites in a region 'that has been a cultural crossroads for thousands of years.' The areas impacted by the earthquakes have been part of multiple empires, including Hittite, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, and Ottoman."

Several damaged or destroyed sites include the following:

Johnny Dixon and his friends visited ancient Constantinople in The Trolley to Yesterday (1989), and while the locations they visited were mostly unaffected, the CBC reported on Feb. 9 geologists predict Istanbul, a city of 15 million people, will eventually get hit by a strong quake and could see tens of thousands of deaths unless action is taken on the thousands of buildings in the city that aren't earthquake proof or resistant. This is because Turkey lies on two major fault systems, the North Anatolian Fault and East Anatolian Fault:
"What we see today in [southeastern] Turkey is just a preview of what will happen in Istanbul," said, Ihsan Engin Bal,  a professor of the Research Group on Earthquake Resistant Structures at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands.

"I'm not saying what may happen. I say what will happen. What will happen in Istanbul is way bigger than this. Way bigger."

While efforts have been made to modernize building codes and protect against tremors, researchers say there is a vast challenge getting older buildings safe enough to withstand a quake.

The problems in Istanbul are the same problems that have come to light in this most recent earthquake — many of the buildings in Turkey appear to be extremely vulnerable.

Just from her initial observations of the damage, [Joanna Faure Walker, a professor of earthquake geology and disaster risk reduction at University College London's Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction] said the destroyed buildings she sees in pictures and video seem to lack basic earthquake-resistant structures, like reinforced concrete or column bracing.

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