Earthquakes can occur at any time, and it is essential to know what to do in the event of an earthquake. Turkey is a country located in an area with high seismic activity. Therefore, it is crucial to know the appropriate actions to take to ensure your safety and that of those around you. What to do in an earthquake?

Causes of Earthquakes in Turkey

Turkey is located in a seismically active zone where the African, Arabian, and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. The North Anatolian Fault Line, which runs from the east to the west of the country, is responsible for most of the earthquakes in Turkey. The fault line is a result of the collision of the African and Arabian plates with the Eurasian plate. The movement of these plates causes the ground to shake, resulting in earthquakes.

Historical Earthquakes

Turkey has a long history of devastating earthquakes. One of the most significant earthquakes in recent history was the 1999 Izmit earthquake. The earthquake, which had a magnitude of 7.6, struck the northwestern part of the country and caused the deaths of over 17,000 people.

Another significant earthquake was the 2011 Van earthquake, which had a magnitude of 7.1. The earthquake struck the eastern part of the country, and over 600 people lost their lives.

Preventative Measures

The Turkish government has taken several measures to mitigate the effects of earthquakes. Building codes have been put in place to ensure that buildings are constructed to withstand earthquakes. The government has also invested in early warning systems and emergency response teams to aid in the event of an earthquake.

What should I do DURING an earthquake?

Earthquake Preparedness in Turkey: What You Need to Know

If you are new to Turkey or have not experienced earthquakes before, now is the time to prepare an emergency kit. Here is a list of items that Turkish rescuers recommend having on hand:

  • Handheld flashlight
  • Finnish knife
  • Small radio
  • Whistle
  • Pair of gardening gloves
  • Matches
  • Bottle of water
  • Colored markers
  • Face mask
  • Sewing kit (needles and threads)
  • Vest with reflective elements
  • Rope
  • Raincoat
  • Blanket
  • First aid kit

In addition to the above items suggest that you also consider packing:

  • Battery-operated radios, such as regular Motorola walkie-talkies, which work great for communicating with each other and the police. It’s best to choose battery-operated radios or any other similar equipment.
  • Headlamp flashlight for mobility
  • Extra batteries
  • Thin (and lightweight) warm clothing, such as thermals and cashmere, as earthquakes often happen at night and it may not be comfortable to be outside in your pajamas for long.
  • Copies of all important documents (for all family members, including pets), ideally notarized copies if they are not local documents.
  • Some cash in Lira and Dollars
  • Foil blankets, which are cheap and warm. You can buy them at Decathlon or other stores.
  • A proper first aid kit. When I say proper, I mean don’t buy ready-made plastic kits. Study what should be in a good tactical first aid kit, make sure that all the medications you need every day are within reach, and have spare packs of oral contraceptives.

For children (in addition to everything above, especially medications):

  • A badge with the child’s name, i.d. number, blood type, and the names, i.d. numbers, and phone numbers of parents (and a couple of additional contacts)
  • A small comfort toy
  • A helmet (for snowboarding or biking)

Children over five should know by heart their i.d. number and the phone number of one important adult.

Install apps on your phone that alert you to strong tremors in your area in case an official warning from the government does not come.

Children (and you!) should also be taught how to behave during an earthquake, whether adults are at home or the child is home alone. What to take, where to go, where the safe gathering point is in the neighborhood, etc.

The most important thing is to determine a meeting point for the whole family if you are in different places at the time of the earthquake!

As for pets, take those that you can carry or have time for. It sounds terrible, but a cat has a much better chance of surviving under the rubble until rescuers arrive than you do.

The Possibility of an Earthquake in Istanbul

Istanbul, located near the North Anatolian Fault zone, experiences high seismic activity and has a history of devastating earthquakes. The most recent earthquake occurred in 1999 in İzmit, causing extensive damage and loss of life.

According to experts, Istanbul is overdue for another major earthquake. In fact, a recent study by the Istanbul Technical University suggests that there is a 70% chance of a major earthquake occurring in Istanbul in the next 30 years.

The Turkish government has taken steps to prepare for a potential earthquake, including implementing stricter building codes and conducting earthquake drills. However, many experts believe that these preparations are not enough to protect Istanbul’s population of over 15 million people.

In addition to the threat of a major earthquake, Istanbul is also vulnerable to the effects of earthquakes that occur in other parts of the world. For example, the earthquake that struck the Greek island of Samos in October 2022 was felt in Istanbul, causing panic among residents.

It is important for residents and visitors to Istanbul to be aware of the possibility of an earthquake and to take steps to prepare. This includes having emergency supplies on hand, knowing evacuation routes, and being familiar with the city’s earthquake safety procedures.

More information about the earthquake in Turkey or Istanbul can be found at the official site Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD)

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