CNN is reporting that thus far, that 366 people are known dead following the earthquake in Turkey, and that an additional 1500 people are injured. Critically ill people are being transported to Ankara. News reports are indicating that more than 2000 structures, many of them large concrete apartment buildings, have collapsed there. The focus of keeping people alive at this time has been finding safe places for people who are survivors to sleep. Of course, getting anyone out from the rubble who remains alive is also an urgent priority. Aftershocks have been as severe as 6.0 on the Richter Scale. In a place where severe earthquakes are an episodic issue, people are described as being "quite scared", and who could blame them.
There are still reports of children and people being located and pulled out of rubble. Of course, with near freezing temperatures overnight, and days passing, those covered with rubble and quite possibly injured as well, time is running out. We were all inspired for a moment this afternoon when a fourteen or fifteen day old baby and mother were rescued from post quake rubble when their home collapsed.
What can we do at this point ? For now, we can pray, and when legitimate aid organization ask for aid for Turkey, we can donate, if possible for us. Mostly, this is a wake-up call. If one is living in a concrete apartment building in a region of the world in which earthquakes of some severity do occur, then there are limits to what can be done in anticipation, when the structure itself collapses around you. Many people's cars were parked in assigned parking so close to the building, that it too was destroyed when the building collapsed. This leaves virtually no places for supply caches available to people who were trying to place supplies prior to earthquake events. Their only alternative is to visit relatives who live in other parts of town or other areas for aid.
Many people throughout the world do not live with such constraints. They may live in a house with a garage. They may live in an apartment with a car parked far enough away from the building that emergency supplies can be stocking in the trunk. Look at all the possibilities where you are today. If you were to have an earthquake with significant damage in your primary structure, where could you have hidden food, water, basic medical supplies, and blankets ?
Yesterday, I learned that one of our friends, here in Virginia, whom I have not seen in a while, lost his entire home during the August 23rd quake here in Virginia. Apparently, damage to his new house, to the foundation and other structures within the home, are so severe that they cannot be salvaged. He has no earthquake insurance. Seismic activity can occur in many places throughout the world, including those that most of us do not recall for having it. Also, I am told today, that we had a 2.0 aftershock in our region, probably about the 83rd such event since our August quake. Of course in comparison to what is going on in Turkey just now, my woes seem small potatoes.