Turkey earthquake (BBC photo)

Death toll in Turkey’s earthquake rises above 20,000


Death toll from the huge Magnitude 7.8 earthquake which struck Turkey, last Monday, February 6, has rises above 20, 000, even as survivors are reportedly still trapped under the rubbles underground waiting to be rescued.

Turkey earthquake (BBC photo)

It would be recalled that Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, while speaking in Hatay province, close to the epicentre of the quakes, Monday, had said the number of people confirmed dead in Turkey had increased to 9,057.

Syrian officials and a rescue group in rebel-held north-west Syria also said the death toll there has reached 2,662, bringing the combined tally to 11,719.

While the disaster has claimed at least 11,719 dead, scores are injured and many others are under the rubbles of collapsed buildings.

The earthquake is said to greater than the 2011 disaster which struck off Fukushima, in Japan, that triggered a tsunami, killing more than 18,400 people.

The Turkey earthquake struck around 4:15 a.m. local time in south central Turkey near the Turkey/Syria border. Just 11 minutes later, it was followed by a magnitude 6.7 aftershock. The largest aftershock at the time of writing was a M7.5 aftershock which struck 95 km (60 miles) to the north. USGS observations and analyses indicate all these events are occurring within the East Anatolian fault system.

Though an earthquake of this magnitude is rare anywhere in the world, this type of earthquake that happened in Turkey is generally expected on long, plate-boundary strike-slip faults.

“It’s difficult to watch this tragedy unfold, especially since we’ve known for a long time that the buildings in the region were not designed to withstand earthquakes.”

“An earthquake this size has the potential to be damaging anywhere in the world, but many structures in this region are particularly vulnerable,” USGS scientist David Wald said.

The two largest earthquakes in the recent series are relatively shallow, with the mainshock 18 kilometers, or 11 miles, deep and the 7.5 magnitude aftershock at 10 kilometers (just over 6 miles) deep. Because the quakes are relatively shallow, the intensity of the shaking is severe.

“This earthquake produced intense shaking in the epicentral region.

“While newer buildings in other parts of Turkey (like Istanbul) are designed with modern earthquake standards in mind, the area affected by this earthquake included more vulnerable buildings, like older types of concrete frames that were not designed from seismic considerations to absorb this much ground motion,” commented another USGS scientist, Kishor Jaiswal.

USGS has produced several products indicating likely damage, including a Ground Failure Estimates report that indicates a significant area and population is exposed to both landslide and liquefaction hazards as a result of the shaking.

As of February 6 evening (10:30 pm local time), around 30 aftershocks magnitude 4.5 and larger have been recorded between the Mediterranean Sea, 100 km (60 miles) to the southwest, and the city of Malatya, 200 km to the northeast.

All of the tremors are taking place within the East Anatolian fault system. Aftershocks are expected to continue in the vicinity, which is a triple junction, a tectonically active area where three tectonic plates — Anatolia, Arabia, and Africa plates — touch and interact with each other.

Since 1970, only three earthquakes of magnitude 6 or larger have been registered in this region. The largest was a magnitude 6.7 that occurred January 24, 2020. See details about that event here.

Meanwhile, in a related development, two former Nigeria international footballers; Austin Okocha and Mikel Obi, has joined the rest of other famous individuals to send goodwill messages to victims of the recent Turkey earthquake.

As widespread relief efforts and support get underway for Turkey following the deadly earthquake that hit the country and Syria early Monday morning, retired Nigerian football Austin Okocha and Mikel Obi, have also joined as send goodwill messages to all the victims of the incident.

Turkey experienced a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on Monday, the worst to hit the country in over 100 years.

Among the casualties was Ahmet Eyup Turkaslan, a Turkish goalkeeper.

Former Chelsea midfielder, Mikel, who also played in Turkey in the twilight of his career, on his Instagram page sent his condolences to the victims of the earthquake.

“My heart breaks seeing videos of the earthquake in Turkey yesterday,” he wrote.

“I am sending my sincere condolences to the people who have lost their loved ones to this very unfortunate incident. May God grant you all the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss.

Okocha also wrote, “My thoughts and prayers are with the entire people of Turkey. My deepest condolence to the families that have lost their loved ones.”

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