New earthquake shakes Hatay, Why so many earthquakes hit Turkey?
A new earthquake of magnitude 6.4 shook the Turkish province of Hatay, devastated by a strong tremor that occurred on February 6 that left a balance of 41,000 deaths. Three people died this Monday as a result of the latest movement, while there are more than 700 injured.
The tremor, with its epicentre south of the city of Antioch, occurred at 17:04 GMT, according to data from the Kandilli Observatory in Istanbul, and was also felt in neighbouring countries such as Syria, Jordan, Israel and Egypt.
Authorities warned people to stay away from the coast in Hatay province, as the water level could rise by half a meter after the new quake.
As a result of the tremors on Monday, the authorities confirmed three dead and more than 700 injured. This was announced by the Minister of the Interior, Suleyman Soylu, who warned: ‘We will try to collect more information on demolished buildings.’
Numerous reporters present in Antioquia reported that the tremor caused panic in the survivors of the previous earthquake, who are living in tents.
The Defne City Council indicated that there was a blackout and that the entire area is in darkness. There were at least twenty aftershocks there.
‘There are collapsed buildings. People are horrified. There were no people in the collapsed buildings. I see collapsed buildings but I think there were no people inside,’ Hatay College of Architects president Mustafa Ozçelik told broadcaster HalkTV.
Turkey warns of tsunami risk
The Turkish authorities have warned the population to stay away from the coast in the province of Hatay since the water level could rise half a meter after the new 6.4 magnitude earthquake that has shaken the southeast of Turkey today. However, the Turkish vice president, Fuat Oktay, has assured that the rise in sea level is not worrisome.
The AFAD national emergency center, which locates the epicenter of the earthquake in the Defne district in Antioquia itself, speaks of a second aftershock of magnitude 5.8 with an epicenter in Samandag, about 12 kilometers from the Mediterranean coast, for which reason the Turkish emergency agency has asked to stay away from the water.
These new earthquakes have also been felt in Syrian territory, specifically in cities such as Idlib, Aleppo, Hama, Afrin, Azez, Jarablus, and Tel Abiad. Likewise, they have been felt in Lebanon, including its capital, Beirut, in Jordan, Iraq, Israel, Palestine and Egypt.
Meanwhile, Turkish police have already arrested 65 builders after issuing 245 arrest warrants so far in connection with alleged negligence in buildings collapsed by devastating earthquakes in the south of the country.
Why so many earthquakes hit Turkey
In 2022 alone, Turkey recorded more than 20,000 earthquakes. Of them, almost 130 exceeded magnitude 4 on the Richter scale, while one exceeded 6 degrees, according to data from the national emergency agency (AFAD) collected by the Turkish media.
According to one estimate, nearly 95% of the country’s land mass is prone to earthquakes, while around a third of the country is at high risk, including areas around the major cities of Istanbul and Izmir and the Eastern Anatolia region.
The reason for this surprising seismic activity is that four tectonic plates converge in this area: the Anatolian, Arabian, Eurasian and African plates. These land masses, which form the outermost layer of our planet, are constantly shifting and colliding with each other.
The most dangerous, where the Turkish and Eurasian plates meet, runs through the entire north of Turkey, passing very close to Istanbul. In fact, the recurring fear of experts is that this large city in Turkey could suffer a potentially devastating earthquake again at some point.
In fact, Istanbul already registered around a thousand deaths in 1999 as a result of an earthquake that left more than 17,000 dead in different parts of the country. The deadliest earthquake of the last century in Turkey took place in 1939 when about 33,000 people died and 100,000 were injured by an earthquake in Erzincan (east).
Erdogan promises housing
Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Monday the construction of 200,000 homes in the eleven Turkish provinces affected by the February 6 earthquake. ‘None of the buildings will have more than three or four floors,’ Erdogan said.
‘All the buildings will be rebuilt from scratch (…) on solid ground and following good practices,’ insisted the head of state, specifying that construction will begin in March.
‘We will build new Antioch, Iskenderun and Arsuz. We will rebuild them from scratch,’ Erdogan said, citing three cities in Hatay province.
The Turkish president, who said that more than 114,800 people have been rescued from the rubble, also announced that public banks will forgive the debts of those killed in the earthquake.
Likewise, Erdogan declared that some of the cities destroyed by the earthquakes of February 6 should move from the plain to the hills to avoid risks of future earthquakes.
‘Where possible, we want to move our settlements from the plains to the mountains to stay away from disasters caused by soil liquefaction,’ the president said.
- Timeline: 16 major earthquakes that shook world in last 25 years
- What is earthquake light that seen in Turkey before massive jolt?
- What are fault lines, and how do they cause earthquakes?
- Series of earthquakes in Turkey, What are the reasons?
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