Yesterday a Magniude 7.2 earhquake struck eastern Turkey, close to the Iranian border. Latest reports suggest about 200 dead, with that figure expected to rise ove the coming days. Many more people are injured and homeless, with the BBC reporting tens of thousands sleeping oudoors in freezing conditions. The Guardian reports that one hospital was significantly damaged, which will no doubt add to what is already a difficult rescue and recovery operation. They also report the difficulties in reaching more rural communities where damage is also expected to be high.
It is difficult to assess at this stage what secondary impacts of the earthquake there will be, in terms of landslides, fires and other triggered phenomena. The vulnerability of the communities in the region is significantly greater than it was prior to the earthquake, and aftershocks and other hazards (cold weather being a notable one) could lead to what is already a vey bad situation becoming much worse.
A comprehensive summary of the technical aspects of the earthquake, including details of the magnitude, location and earthquake history of Turkey can be found on the USGS website. Turkey is particularly vulnerable to large earthquakes, with many large cities close to major geological fault lines. Further information, updates and analysis will be posted on this blog as and when more news is available.