After earthquakes in Turkey and Syria: Long-term geological consequences feared

After earthquakes in Turkey and Syria: Long-term geological consequences feared

MMore than a week after the devastating earthquakes in the Turkish-Syrian border area of Syria According to diplomats, President Bashar al-Assad will open two more border crossings into Turkey. To improve humanitarian aid in areas that are difficult to access, Bab Al-Salam and Al Ra’ee are to be opened for three months, UN emergency aid coordinator Martin Griffiths reported to the UN Security Council on Monday, according to several diplomats. So far, the United Nations can only deliver aid to areas not controlled by the government via a border crossing (Bab al-Hawa). Northwest Syria is controlled by various rebel groups.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres Welcoming Assad’s decision: “Opening these border crossings — along with facilitating humanitarian access, speeding up visa approvals and facilitating travel between hubs — will allow more aid to arrive faster.”

Hardly any hope of survivors

In the meantime, there is little hope of finding any more survivors. “The rescue phase of pulling people alive from the rubble and finding dead under the rubble is coming to an end,” Griffiths said during a visit to Aleppo, Syria, on Monday. The humanitarian phase is now beginning to provide those affected with shelter, “psychosocial” as well as food, schooling and “a sense of the future”.

A photo released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows relief supplies donated by China in Damascus.

A photo released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows relief supplies donated by China in Damascus.

Image: SANA/dpa

The number of confirmed dead was more than 37,500 as of early Tuesday morning, and more than 80,000 people were injured. Thousands continue to be missing. Helpers rescued individual living victims on Monday. Survivors who are still being found must have had access to liquid – such as rainwater, snow or other sources. Normally, a person can go without water for about 72 hours, i.e. three days, after which it becomes life-threatening. This period has already been exceeded.

Countless buildings and parts of the infrastructure were destroyed. A report by Turkey’s Confederation of Businesses and Businesses, Türkonfed, estimates the damage from the quake at around $84 billion.

In the city of Kahramanmaraş, with a population of 660,000, the Turkish civil protection agency Afad has set up a tent camp in the stadium.  Around 1500 to 2000 people live here in 350 tents.  Six-year-old Naz is one of them.  She's playing with the only balloon in the stadium.

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Traveling in the earthquake area

Impressions from the rubble desert

According to data from satellites, the severe earthquakes may also have long-term geological consequences. “There appears to have been significant subsidence in the coastal town of Iskenderun, causing flooding, while the quake has put many hills across the country at serious risk of landslides,” the European Space Agency said. The broadcaster NTV reported last week that buildings in the Turkish coastal city had to be evacuated because of flooded streets.

In the early morning of February 6, the first 7.7-magnitude tremor shook the Turkish-Syrian border region, followed hours later by a second 7.6-magnitude tremor. Since then there have been more than 2,400 aftershocks. In the Turkey ten provinces are affected, there is now a three-month state of emergency. More than a hundred thousand volunteers traveled to the earthquake region to help. Some of them have since returned home, including several German search and rescue teams.

Around 50 experts from the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) returned to Germany on Monday evening. The members of the so-called rapid deployment unit salvage abroad (Seeba) managed to free two women from the rubble in Turkey together with other rescue workers.

According to THW information, the emergency services from Isar Germany also returned to Germany on the same flight. The team had been looking for survivors of the disaster in Turkey together with the rescue dog organization BRH. According to their own statements, the two aid organizations managed to rescue four people alive from the rubble in the past few days. Among them was a 40-year-old woman who was rescued after more than a hundred hours. However, she later succumbed to her injuries.

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