Claiming the lives of over 50,000 people, the Kahramanmaras earthquake in Turkey and Syria has been one of the strongest to hit in 100 years. This 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck on
February 6, and left 865,000 people in tents, 23,500 in container homes, and 376,000 in student dorms. Near the North Anatolian Fault and the East Anatolian Fault, 4 million people are still in need. The question is, has the quake been worsened by factors that are not so natural?
Throughout the three weeks since the initial quake, there have been 9,000 aftershocks causing 160,000 buildings to collapse. Although an earthquake of this magnitude has not occurred in many years, investigators are questioning whether this amount of damage is normal. Could there have been other conditions that caused there to be so many casualties? After much investigation, it is now clear that many of the engineers of the buildings did not follow the codes put in place to ensure the safety of the residents. The vice president of Turkey, Fuat Oktay, spoke out on February 12 saying, “We will follow this up meticulously until the necessary judicial process is concluded, especially for buildings that suffered heavy damage and caused deaths and injuries”. Although Oktay spoke out to address the concerns, both his position and the President’s position are now on the line. There have also been assessments put in place on over 24,921 buildings throughout Turkey that had either collapsed or suffered damage throughout the quake.
Mehmet Yasar Coskun, the contractor of a complex that contained 294 apartments, claimed that he fulfilled all the requirements, and did not know the reason for the collapse. However, investigators discovered that his building was only ten years old and that the collapse should not have been as traumatic as it was. Coskun has since been arrested and is now under investigation.
While the mass destruction was certainly caused by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake, it is clear that there are other factors in play. Although it doesn’t seem right to blame humans for a natural disaster, it is clear that poor construction was one of the reasons for the number of casualties. However, when it comes to the death of 50,000 humans, it is clear that everything has to be taken into consideration in order to figure out the truth.
By Emma Bossbaly’26 Staff Writers