If Turkey Visits Us…

If Turkey Visits Us…

Days after two powerful earthquakes shook the southern region of Turkey, its worst natural disaster in a generation, the death toll has surpassed 66,000. Nurdağı and towns across southern Turkey and northern Syria have become replicas of horror movies.

The scenes are horrendous even as many have remained displaced as they no longer can identify any figment representing their once vibrant abodes.

“Forty percent of the people who lived in this town could be gone”, said Sadık Güneş, an Imam in Nurdağı, one of the worst hit areas. His home had been next to the Mosque, which collapsed. Without a place for their prayers, mass funerals in Nurdağı and the rest of southern Turkey are being celebrated outdoors.

According to reports, the dead can hardly find a place to rest as cemeteries have been crowded beyond capacity and piles of bodies are left awaiting their turn to be buried when possible. What an uncertain end for even the dead in this crisis.

With the huge carnage, casualties come with various degrees of severity, with some displaced who are short of fuel, woods and other combustibles to keep warm. Anything comes handy as long as it can burn, to provide warmth for thousands displaced by the earthquake in very snowy condition.

It is cheery news and a welcome relief for many victims who are said to be already receiving consignments from the United Nations, UN, as humanitarian support. However, given the overwhelming number of victims it is with cautious optimism that observers are applauding the move. It may just be trickling in yet and may improve in the days ahead. A pitiable picture has been painted of the depth of humanitarian crises the situation has propped up.

I have not stopped imagining such a scenario in our so battered nation where everything public seems to have gone asleep and may take many years to awaken them. Turkey with some form of relative modernity and infrastructural development is having a tedious time dealing with this magnitude of disaster, it beats one’s imagination what it would be if such events surfaced in this part of the globe where virtually many disaster responses are weak and most times unavailable.

We can write it off as many Nigerians are wont to think that an earthquake is possible in our climes as researchers have predicted 40% possibility of magnitude 7.1 earthquake in Nigeria by 2028.

It has been observed that earth tremors in Abuja and environs, Niger, Kaduna, Kwara, Saki in Oyo, and Ile Ife in Osun have left many worried if the situation continues may be a sign of worse things to come.

Far from being a doomsday apologist, we must take some of these research findings seriously by preparing against the evil day. In a recent published news report, an unreported seismic activity in early November 2021 had received attention of the National Assembly and the Presidency. One is not sure what measures have been taken in the event of an eventuality.

Indeed, Abuja has in the recent past become a home of tremors. The last officially reported episode was on November 1, 2018. An earlier event on September 5, 2018 that lasted for three days in Mpape and some parts of Maitama district in Federal Capital Territory ,FCT, left not only residents, but also the whole country apprehensive that an earthquake was about to occur.

Residents of Abuja, Saki in Oyo, Ife in Osun who confirmed the incidents said the tremors lasted for days.

Federal Government might soon raise an emergency committee to tackle regular tremors in Nigeria.

Giving credence to earlier predictions, researchers from Department of Civil Engineering, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, were said to have predicted the possibility of an earthquake of magnitude of 7.1 in Nigeria by 2028.

The study titled “Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Analysis of Nigeria: The Extent of Future Devastating Earthquake” was published in the journal IOP Conf. Series: Materials Science and Engineering.

The researchers concluded: “The findings of this assessment established that Nigeria is at the risk of experiencing devastating earthquakes in the future”.

The big question is: How prepared are we when Turkey’s experience replicates itself here?

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