Turkey, Syria Quake| MENAFN.COM

Tuesday, 21 March 2023 05:40 GMT

Turkey, Syria Quake

(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer)

AT least 5000 people have died in the major earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria. Several thousand buildings have been flattened in cities across a border region that is witnessing war, insurgency and refugee crisis. There are fears that the toll could further rise as the rubble is cleared. World Health Organization officials are estimating that up to 20,000 may have died. Turkey has now declared a state of emergency in ten quake-hit provinces to deal with the crisis and the world is mobilizing help for the victims of the natural calamity. Many countries have dispatched aid, personnel and equipment to help the rescue efforts in the two quake-hit countries. India has sent the first batch of earthquake relief material to Turkiye aboard an Indian Air Force aircraft.

But as Turkey and Syria begin to deal with the unfolding tragedy, the calamity is a wake-up call to us in Kashmir. In 2005 a big temblor that was 7.6 on Richter scale led to the loss of around 80,000 lives. Pakistan controlled Kashmir was worst affected with a predominant number of the people killed hailing from there. On this side of the then state, the quake caused devastation along the villages bordering Line of Control, particularly Uri and parts of Kupwara district leaving around 1300 people dead. If anything, Turkey and Syria quakes should warn us as to a possible repetition of this natural disaster in the region.

Already, a study by a prominent US seismologist Roger Bilham has warned that Kashmir Valley is likely to be hit by an earthquake of largest ever magnitude. But the study has not specified any particular time-frame. In what can be an apocalyptic scenario, Bilham said the quake could trigger landslides that would dam the river Jhelum, He also urged India and Pakistan to develop a cooperative plan to deal with the aftermath of a mega-quake in the union territory. But ever since the 2005 earthquake which initially alerted the government and the people to build stronger, reasonably quake resistant structures, the complacency seems to have again set in. The quakes in Turkey and Syria have thus come as an important reminder to us to become more mindful of our vulnerability to the natural disasters – flood being the another – and take pro-active measures to lessen the damage should, if God forbid, we experience another disaster. It is incumbent on the government not only to get its act together but also create public awareness to help people to better prepare for a possible future calamity.

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