See Woo Kim

Devastating Earthquake strikes Turkey: Gaziantep hit by tremors.

On February 6, 2023, at 4 a.m., a terrible earthquake happened in southern Turkey and northern Syria with a magnitude of 7.5 and tremors of 7.8. But this was not the end of the catastrophe in Turkey and Syria; 60 aftershocks hit the country continuously. Earthquakes are common in Turkey and Syria, but the magnitude of this one was unprecedented. Why then could we not predict this destructive earthquake? The answer to that question is that it is impossible to predict earthquakes precisely. Many scientists were able to predict the region where the earthquake might occur, but they couldn’t predict the exact location. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, no scientists have ever predicted a major earthquake.

“There is no science, magic, or wizardry that exists right now that makes one able to predict an earthquake within a certain window,” said Michel Bruneau, a professor at the University at Buffalo and an expert in earthquake engineering. “Currently, scientists cannot predict earthquakes on a precise date.”

Over 34,000 people died from the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria, most of them because of the more than 6,000 collapsed buildings. Many people think the problem is about the quality and age of the construction. A great many people became homeless and lost their families in the hour after the earthquake happened. There are many heartbreaking stories about their families’ deaths.

Man holding the hand of a woman trapped in a collapsed building

This is a picture, in Kahramanmaraş, Turkey, of a man and his daughter. On Feb. 7, his daughter was crushed by the rubble of the cement building. Even though she was dead, her father kept holding her hand. She was only fifteen years old. Here we see the tragedy of the people who lost their families. Still, there were many miracles that rescued many people from the wreckage. One example of this is a girl and her little brother who stayed under the rubble for 17 hours. When the rescue team found them, the 7-year-old girl begged, “Uncle, please pull me out, and I will do whatever you want; I will be your servant.”

The devastating earthquake triggered an economic downturn as well. The United States Geological Survey reported that $1.78 billion will be needed for Turkey to recover from the earthquakes and aftershocks. As a result, the economic loss will be up to two percent of GDP (gross domestic product). On February 8, the Turkish lira hit bottom, and the stock market plunged. Furthermore, there was a huge impact on tourism, an important source of income for a historical site.

The Turkish earthquake is one of the deadliest in this century. Many people have sacrificed, and their countries have suffered a lot of loss. Natural disasters are among the most terrifying things in the world because they are unpredictable. Even if Syria and Turkey recover their losses, it will impact their other neighboring countries soon.