On 6 February 2023, a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake and a series of strong tremors and aftershocks devastated southern Turkey near the Northern border of Syria.

This quake was followed approximately nine hours later by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake located around 59 miles (95 kilometers) to the southwest.

This Earthquake was the most devastating to hit earthquake-prone Turkey in more than 20 years. It was centered near Gaziantep in south-central Turkey, home to thousands of Syrian refugees and many humanitarian aid organizations were also based there.

It is estimated that there were at least 45,089 deaths and 114,991 injured across the 11 most affected provinces of Turkey. At least 13.5 million people and 4 million buildings have been affected.

About 345,000 apartments were devastated. Thousands were trapped under rubble when buildings collapsed. Many people remained missing in collapsed buildings.

This heart-rending event has sent goosebumps throughout the world. However, it is a stark reminder of the fragility of life and the dangers posed by natural disasters.

UN estimates damage from the Turkey earthquake will exceed $100 billion
Response from the Turkish Government

The Turkish government has launched a coordinated response effort, with emergency services working to rescue survivors and provide medical care to the injured.

Search and rescue teams have been deployed to the affected areas, and shelters have been set up for those who have been displaced.

The government has also appealed for international aid to support the response effort, with countries such as the United States and European Union offering assistance.

Expected Causes of this Earthquake

The earthquake has highlighted the ongoing vulnerability of Turkey to natural disasters, particularly earthquakes. Turkey is located in a highly active seismic zone, and earthquakes are a regular occurrence in the country.

The earthquake has also highlighted the importance of disaster preparedness and response, with many communities lacking the resources and infrastructure to cope with such disasters.

The government’s response has been swift and coordinated, but the earthquake has also exposed weaknesses in Turkey’s emergency management systems.

Turkey’s earthquake is raising questions that whether the natural disaster’s impact is worsened by human negligence. As Turk government alleged property developers and standards enforcing agencies for the massive destruction.

According to media reports, it is found that the major causes of building collapse were the use of poor quality and substandard construction materials.

Also, the building codes were not followed and law enforcement agencies kept their eyes closed on the malpractices.

Implications on the Region

According to Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS), new earthquakes are among the worst-case scenarios for the region because they could impact humanitarian needs and the ability to meet them.

Damaged buildings are at high risk of collapse, and survivors may continue to experience ongoing fear while also beginning to deal with lasting trauma.

The earthquake in Turkey could have implications for neighboring countries, including Pakistan. While the earthquake’s impact on Pakistan is limited, the incident highlights the potential risks that seismic activity poses to the region.

Pakistan is also located in a highly active seismic zone, and earthquakes are a frequent occurrence in the country.

The country has experienced devastating earthquakes in the past, with the 2005 earthquake in northern Pakistan killing over 73,000 people and leaving millions homeless.

The earthquake in Turkey could serve as a reminder of the need for disaster preparedness and response in Pakistan.

The government and communities must be prepared to respond to earthquakes and other natural disasters to minimize the impact on lives and infrastructure.

The effects of this earthquake were not just felt in Turkey but its repercussions were also felt by countries in the region, including Pakistan.

As such, it is important for us in Pakistan to understand the lessons that can be learned from this tragedy and work towards better earthquake preparedness in the future.

Lessons for Pakistan

Powerful earthquakes kill people, but they could be deadlier in countries where building standards and regulations are not enforced.

This recent devastating earthquake in Turkey has highlighted the need for Pakistan to take steps toward improved disaster preparedness.

With an increased frequency of natural disasters due to climate change, it is essential that all countries, including Pakistan, take proactive steps to ensure their citizens are safe and protected from harm.

To mention, it was one of the largest earthquakes to have hit the nation in more than a decade. The tragedy serves as a grim reminder of the consequences of natural disasters & should be taken as a warning by Pakistan to strengthen its own defenses against these events.

It is important for Pakistan to remember the loss and destruction caused by the 2005 Earthquake, which was largely due to the unplanned and outdated infrastructure.

At that time, major infrastructure damage was witnessed especially in Balakot, Kashmir, and the luxury Margalla Towers apartment complex in Islamabad where buildings/ infrastructure came crashing down due to faulty construction resulting in the loss of various innocent lives and numerous injuries.

Unfortunately, the current situation in Pakistan is not much different. Despite the establishment of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the lack of implementation of building safety regulations remains a matter of concern for Pakistan. This is due to negligence in proper checks and balances by the government.

Recommendations for Pakistan

In the wake of this tragedy, it is important for Pakistan to take heed. While it cannot prevent these disasters from happening, it can take proactive steps to minimize the impact.

Presently, many new buildings are unsafe due to the use of substandard steel and construction materials, poor construction techniques, bribery, and blindfolded authorities.

First and foremost, the government must develop effective early warning systems as well as introduce seismic monitoring systems.

These systems are important tools for gathering data on seismic events and alerting authorities so that emergency response teams can be mobilized quickly and effectively.

Such systems provide vital information about the scope and potential consequences of an earthquake, including its magnitude, depth, and location.

This information can then be used to create appropriate protocols for evacuating people from affected areas and preparing for potential aftershocks.

Secondly, the government should ensure that all buildings meet safety standards by ratifying new building codes.

It can be done through the development of innovative building materials capable of absorbing shock and the adoption of such construction techniques that can withstand earthquakes.

These regulations can reduce the likelihood of structural collapse, collapsing ceilings, and other dangers that can arise during an earthquake.

In the same vein, Government should provide education to the public on what to do in the event of an emergency and equip them with appropriate resources and knowledge.

Further, the government must invest in disaster relief services and supply first responders with the necessary tools and resources.

Finally, the government must also provide financial support for those affected by the disaster, as well as invest in infrastructure that can help mitigate the impact of any future natural disasters.

By adopting these steps, Pakistan can strive to protect its citizens and minimize the damage by being better prepared for any future natural disasters.