Turkey earthquake a lesson and a warning for Indonesia, says govt agency

People affected by the deadly earthquake queue for aid in Hatay, Turkey, on Feb. 24, 2023. - Reuters

JAKARTA, Feb 26 (Jakarta Post/ANN):The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) warned the recent massive earthquake in Turkey should motivate Indonesia to prepare for earthquake mitigation as Indonesia had the potential to experience earthquakes with a similar scale.

BMKG head Dwikorita Karnawati said on Thursday that just like Turkey, Indonesia was also vulnerable to catastrophic and complex earthquakes caused by strike slips of active faults.

She said the 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Southern Turkey on Feb. 6 had ruptured all six segments of the East Anatolian Fault, namely Turkoglu, Golbasi, Yarpuzlu, Lakehazar and Gorzali, that stretches up to 300 kilometers.

“This phenomenon is a warning for us in Indonesia to be aware of the potential for multi-segment earthquakes to happen here,” Dwikorita said in a discussion.

She added earthquakes from such a phenomenon had occurred in Lombok Island with five earthquakes of magnitudes 6.4, 7.0, 5.9, 6.2 and 6.9 within three weeks in 2018. Dwikorita said the 7.8 earthquake from the East Anatolia Fault in Turkey had triggered a rupture in a separate but nearby fault to the west, namely the Sürgü Fault, which triggered another 7.5 earthquake on the same day.

She said the second earthquake had worsened the damages to buildings already affected by the first quake and had expanded total damaged areas.

Major active faults surrounded by other active faults were also found in Indonesia, Dwikorita said, such as Cimandiri fault, West Java; Semangko fault (also called Great Sumatran fault); Palu Koro fault, Central Sulawesi; Seulimeum fault, Special Region of Aceh; Kawa Strike-Slip Fault, Maluku; and many others.

She said the Turkey earthquake had occurred near major cities in Central and Southern Turkey in the provinces of Adıyaman, Kilis, Osmaniye, Gaziantep, Malatya, Şanlıurfa, Diyarbakır, Adana and Hatay, which are home to 13.5 million people.

“Experts in this focus-group discussion suggested we needed to pay special attention to active faults near dense settlements and large cities,” Dwikorita said. Dwikorita called for Indonesia to strengthen its earthquake mitigation efforts by intensifying research on earthquakes, reviewing building constructions, enacting regulations that support earthquake-mitigation efforts and public-awareness campaigns on earthquakes.

Indonesia’s search-and-rescue team, sent to Turkey, returned home on Friday; however, the medical team sent to Turkey is staying to give further medical assistance to people affected by the earthquake.

In response to the earthquake, Indonesia had sent a search-and-rescue team, a medical team and logistical aid weighing as much as 80 tonnes for Turkey and 78 tonnes for Syria, National Disaster Mitigation Agency head Suharyanto said.

“Our search-and-rescue team from Basarnas [National Search and Rescue Agency], composed of 50 personnel, returned home, as the Turkish government stopped the search, rescue and evacuation efforts there,” Suharyanto said at the Halim Perdanakusuma Airport, East Jakarta, on Friday, after welcoming the Indonesian search-and-rescue team.

Indonesia’s emergency medical team, composed of 119 personnel and one Indonesian Air Force (TNI AU) Hercules plane, would still be in Turkey until Feb. 28 and March 2, respectively, as Turkey requested them to stay and help, Suharyanto said.

As of Friday, Turkey declared a 44,218 death toll due to the earthquakes while Syria announced a death toll of 5,914, bringing the combined death toll in the two countries to over 50,000, Reuters reported. - The Jakarta Post/ANN

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