Eastern Eye (UK)
Tragedies of earthquake-hit Turkey and Syria as well as war in Ukraine
WE SEE images of collapsed buildings in Ukraine, and more recently, after last week’s 7.8and 7.6-magnitude earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.
Underneath lie the dead and injured. A total of 26 million people have been affected. But there is a difference. While the earthquake can be called “an act of God”, the collapsed buildings in Ukraine are the result of the Russian invasion of the country.
American estimates of the number of civilians killed or injured in Ukraine put the figure at 40,000. By Monday (13), the number of people confirmed to have died in Turkey and Syria because of the earthquakes had risen to more than 33,000, with fears that the final tally could be double that figure.
For the Russians, the cost of the invasion of Ukraine has been high. The US estimate is that 180,000 Russian and allied forces have been killed or injured.
Despite all the advances in science, it is still not possible to predict when two tectonic plates will grind against each other, triggering an earthquake.
Some buildings were left standing, other were reduced to rubble. The Turkish environment minister, Murat Kurume, said that based on an initial assessment of more than 170,000 buildings across the south of the country, 24,921 had either collapsed or were heavily damaged by the quake.
The Turkish authorities have issued more than 100 arrest warrants over the alleged use of sub-standard materials in collapsed buildings.
As with any earthquake, there are stories of those who have survived against the odds.
Rescuers pulled a sevenmonth-old baby from the rubble of a building in Hatay, southern Turkey, after 139 hours. Elsewhere in Hatay, a 12-yearold girl, Codie, was saved after being trapped for 147 hours. Also in the same area, a 64-yearold woman was rescued after 150 hours under the rubble.
To be a casualty of an earthquake is a heart-rending tragedy of nature. But to be blown to bits by Russian bombing is avoidable. In fact, it is pure evil. The longer the war goes on – and next Friday (24) will mark the first anniversary – the greater the risk it will escalate into a full scale European conflict.