The 2023 earthquakes in Turkey were among the most devastating natural disasters to hit the country in recent years. At the moment I am writing this article, there were over 7000 deaths in Turkey and Syria. The earthquakes, which struck the city of Izmir, left a trail of destruction and resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and the collapse of numerous buildings. The high number of casualties and the widespread damage to buildings were largely due to the poor quality of construction and inadequate building standards.
Why so many earthquakes were felt these past few days there? The boundary separating Turkey and Syria is situated close to the Anatolian Fault System, which is where multiple geological plates converge. These include the African Anatolian Plate (on which Turkey is located), the Arabian Plate, and the Eurasian Plate. Turkey rests on the small Anatolian tectonic plate, which itself is situated between several other plates that are moving in opposite directions, thereby putting stress on the fault lines. This scenario is similar to the San Andreas Fault in California, where earthquakes in the region are usually the result of faults shifting horizontally, referred to as strike-slip faults.
One of the main reasons why so many buildings fell during the 2023 earthquakes in Turkey was the use of substandard materials and poor construction practices. Many buildings were constructed using inferior quality cement, bricks, and steel, which were not able to withstand the strong seismic forces generated by the earthquakes. This resulted in the buildings collapsing or being severely damaged, often leading to the death of those inside.
Another factor that contributed to the high number of casualties was the lack of building codes and regulations in Turkey. The country had no comprehensive building code, and many buildings were constructed without proper engineering assessments or inspections. This meant that many buildings were vulnerable to seismic forces and were not able to withstand the earthquakes, resulting in widespread damage and the loss of life.
The lack of earthquake-resistant design and construction was also a significant factor in the widespread damage caused by the 2023 earthquakes in Turkey. Many buildings were designed without taking into account the potential for earthquakes, and this meant that they were unable to absorb the energy generated by the seismic forces. This led to widespread damage and the collapse of numerous buildings, causing significant loss of life.
In conclusion, the 2023 earthquakes in Turkey made so many casualties and caused so many buildings to fall due to poor quality construction, inadequate building standards, and a lack of earthquake-resistant design and construction practices. To prevent similar disasters from occurring in the future, it is crucial that governments and communities invest in better construction practices and building codes, as well as in earthquake-resistant design and construction methods. This will help to ensure that future earthquakes do not result in such widespread destruction and loss of life.