Recently, a series of powerful earthquakes, with the first one having a magnitude of 7.8, struck Turkey and Syria, claiming the lives of over 8300 people in both countries. The already conflict-ridden region is devastated by the loss of life and property, while the winter storm is compounding their misery. WHO has estimated that over 20,000 people may have died in the quake.
India’s Humanitarian Aid
India is sending across an Army medical team, National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) personnel, and medical supplies as humanitarian aid to Turkey.
The Army stated in a statement on Tuesday that the field unit was mobilised hours after it was announced that aid would be provided to the earthquake-stricken nation. According to the Army, the 60 Para Field Hospital in Agra has sent a 99-person medical team.
“The medical team comprises critical care specialist teams to include orthopaedic surgical Team, general surgical specialist team, medical specialist teams apart from other medical teams,” the Army said.
The move was appreciated by Turkey, with its ambassador to India conveying gratitude for Twitter using the phrase – ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed!’
What to do when you are in an Earthquake?
1. Dunk under a wooden frame – Many people lose their lives in an earthquake because they try to run outside of their houses to find safety. The ladders of the building are often suspended in the air, making them vulnerable at the time of the earthquake. Even the floors are not stable at such a time. The smartest thing to do to survive in an earthquake is to not run but dunk under a wooden frame. The frame could be a door frame or a wooden table.
This way, even if the building falls, the wood will protect the head and torso from getting seriously injured, thus improving the chances of survival. It will also protect the person from getting electrocuted in case there is a live wire somewhere in the rubble.
2. Food Security – Food is one of the major issues for many that are either stuck in the rubble as well as others that had lost their houses or were scared to go back in them. While help arrives soon for the people who are outside, it is important to ensure that food is reachable at all times inside the house or office building. For this, keep a bar of chocolate or some nuts in every room of the house.
3. Move to open safe ground – More often than not, tremors follow after such a major earthquake for a few days. The buildings that have stayed put in the major quake may have damaged their foundation and can fall during the minor tremors. Therefore, it is wise to avoid staying in buildings. Thus, one should immediately move to open, safe grounds away from coastal areas.
4. Accepting Nomadic Life – The earthquake may displace the people for a long while from the city. It is, therefore, important to adapt to circumstances and accept a nomadic lifestyle. To facilitate this, pack an emergency bag with all the essentials and keep it handy at all times. This way, you can be on the go anytime you want.
5. Check for updates – Tuning into the news on radio or television from time to time helps in getting updates regarding repairs, reconstruction or further threats. It is important for everyone to follow the government directives at such a time for efficient tackling of the disaster.
6. Be useful to the community – If you are not severely hurt, be useful to the community in any and every way you can. This is our responsibility as citizens and as humans.
How to Achieve Earthquake Preparedness?
1. Earthquake-resilient buildings and infrastructure – For earthquake-prone regions, earthquake-resistant buildings and infrastructure should be built. There is no ‘one size fits all’ for this. Every region must build structures using materials available to them or produced locally. This way the materials are used to the topography, making it more sustainable as well as rigid. In addition to this, tall buildings should not be constructed.
2. Mock Drills – The residents, as well as students, need to be taught about earthquakes in a detailed manner. Mock drills should be conducted in schools, offices and resident complexes. In addition to this, a course on disaster management must be taught at the school level so that students know what to do when disasters occur.
3. Learn basic first aid and CPR – Disasters often result in crowding at hospitals. The doctors and other healthcare workers are overworked and, even then, are unable to tend to everyone. At such a time, basic first aid and other healthcare procedures such as CPR or giving injections can come in extremely handy and even save lives in case there is an emergency, but no doctor is free.
4. Learn a sport – Sports help in developing the instincts of people. These instincts are very handy during disasters as they help in minimizing the damages and get out of trouble safely.