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TURKEY SYRIA EARTHQUAKE

TURKEY SYRIA EARTHQUAKE

Why in news? Recently, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck south-east Turkey and northern Syria ,  killing at least 2,300 people and wounding thousands.

Background:

  • Turkey's location, converging on the three tectonic plates, has resulted in repeated major earthquakes over the past century.
  • In December 1939, a 7.8 magnitude quake struck near the city of Erzincan in eastern Turkey, killing over 30,000 people.
  • According to the country's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), Turkey recorded over 22,000 earthquakes in 2022.

What Makes Turkey A Hotbed Of Seismic Activity?

  • It is located on the Anatolian tectonic plate, which is wedged between the Eurasian and African plates.
    • One fault line, the North Anatolian fault (NAF) line, the meeting point of the Eurasian and Anatolian tectonic plates is known to be“particularly devastating”.
    • The NAF, one of the best-understood fault systems in the world, stretches from the south of Istanbul to northeastern Turkey, and has caused catastrophic earthquakes in the past.
    • In 1999 itself it caused two earthquakes of 7.4 and 7.0 magnitude each in Gölcük and Düzce provinces. Almost 18,000 people died and more than 45,000 were injured. 
  • The East Anatolian fault line, the tectonic boundary between theAnatolian Plate and the northward-moving Arabian Plate. 
    • It runs 650 kilometers from eastern Turkey and into the Mediterranean. In addition to this, the Aegean Sea Plate, located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea under southern Greece and western Turkey, is also a source of seismic activity in the region.
  • According to an estimate, almost 95% of the country’s land mass is prone to earthquakes, while about a third of the country is at high risk, including the areas around the major cities ofIstanbul and Izmir and the region of East Anatolia.

Geological implications:

  • In the coastal city of Iskenderun, there appears to have subsidence , which resulted in flooding.
  • The quake has left many hillsides around the country at serious risk of land slip.
  • Liquefaction of soft sediments along the coastal areas.

Economic impact of Turkey earthquake:

  • High inflation , collapsing stock market and a devastated agricultural sector.
  • Nearly 8000 building , roads and sea ports were destroyed , limiting the supply chain for exports.
  • Undervaluation of Lira ( currency of Turkey ) , making it difficult for Turkey to bring in foreign investors.
  • Industries are at higher risk, particularly agriculture and industrial sectors.
  • Turkey can lose upto 1 % of GDP with some ripple effect throughout world economy, as Turkey is leading provider of several fruits including apricots.
  • The devastation has hit tourism industry as tourist spots are no longer accessible.
  • Turkey between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, serves as an important waterway for global shipping. "The earthquake will undoubtedly disturb normal shipping,
  • Syrian refugees living in poverty in southern Turkey, have been abandoned to their fate after the earthquake.

Geopolitical ramifications:

  • Earthquake relief work may distract Turkey from his role as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine.
  • Infrastructure damage has led disruptions to energy supplies from Turkey and  may significantly impact European energy markets.
  • Such strong earthquakes could force others to rethink the possibility of the instability of seismic zones in Turkey and may affect the directions of future energy channels or gas pipelines in the long run.

India’s aid to Turkey

  • Under Operation Dost, India has sent search and rescue teams, a field hospital, materials, medicines, and equipment to Turkey and Syria.
  • The NDRF is working to extricate live victims from under the rubble and providing first-aid to the injured.
  • Field hospital is providing fully functional operation theatre, and facilities such as X-rays, and ventilators among others.
  • NDRF is using chip and stone cutters to breach fallen concrete slabs and other infrastructure and has deep radars that pick up feeble sounds like the heartbeat or sound of a person.
  • India is also sending aid to Syria , despite it is under US sanctions. ndia is following the G20 mantra of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’.

Conclusion:

Short-term solutions – rebuilding the same style of flawed housing and infrastructure – will only increase the chance of future tragedies. Redesigning their built environment to live with seismic risk, and engaging the whole population of Turkey in an ongoing experiment to create a society that recognizes earthquakes as a continuing threat that can be managed.

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