Van Earthquake

This post has been updated 8X.

A 7.2 earthquake has hit the Van region (cities of Van and Erciş), so far 576 confirmed dead, 2708 wounded. My sympathies to all those affected. For a BBC report, click here. At least 2000 buildings collapsed. Temperatures in Van are near freezing and many people are outdoors. Looting of aid trucks has been reported (a van was looted during a live broadcast of CNN Turk. Watch here.)

A foreign ministry official says Turkey will accept foreign assistance to cope with the aftermath of a powerful earthquake, including from Israel. The official says Turkey on Tuesday decided to accept offers from assistance after emergency management authorities declared the country would need prefabricated homes and containers to house survivors. (click here)

Google has set up a Person Finder service in Turkish that allows users to post information on victims and survivors and also to follow up on relatives and friends in the earthquake zone. Click here.

A dormitory believed to house 130 students was destroyed in Erciş province, as was a busy coffeehouse. No one knows how many were in the building when it collapsed. (click here, in Turkish)

Photo from Milliyet

16 Responses to “Van Earthquake”

  1. Turkey has so far declined offers of foreign assistance which have come from all quarters

    Foreign assistance in these matters is more of a show than anything tangible. Furthermore, the manpower offered is usually usually useless: They don’t know the area, they don’t speak the language. IOW, foreign teams themselves need plenty of assistance and hand holding which are among the most valuable commodities at this stage.
    As far as material goods are concerned, same there: We don’t seem to need them. The whole country has mobilized itself to send all sorts of stuff to the area. Chances are, by the time this euphoria is over, the area will be inundated with all this stuff –much of it might even go to waste.

    including Israel.

    I don’t see why Israel gets a special mention here. Israel, at a time like this, is just another country among the numerous that offered help. Things is, it seems, true friends don’t wait for an invitation; they just send/do what they can: Iran, Pakistan and Azerbaijan.

  2. CA is right about mobilization. I will add. I cannot vouch for this because I wasn’t here, but people I trust tell me that things are working far smoother and faster than they did in ’99. (For stuff near me: I have verified that Sisli municipality worked through the night to collect donations and send them off. They may still be working tonight, I may go check later.)
    I am not sure if anyone (local or foreign) can do anything remotely at this point for urgent help. The problems we hear about seem to be organizational and concern things not getting to where they are needed soon enough rather than shortages at collection points in Istanbul or throughout Turkey.
    There’s also TCK-216 news. Here:
    I am not surprised that such things got said, but there has also been overwhelming reaction to questionable utterances. It does seem that things can be fine w/o involving the courts but that’s just me.

  3. At a time like this, choppers like these would be priceless.

    Half a dozen of these would make life a lot easier for the whole population. It could reach even the remotest villages.
    It’s a shame Russians built only 2 of them.

  4. […] Van Earthquake […]

  5. Could this be thrue ?!

    Best Regards,


  6. I ment : true..

  7. Yes, we’ve seen the ‘looting’ as it called but it looks more like a distribution/organization problem than looting in the sense I’d take it. That stuff was, after all, meant for distribution. Folks who are now in the area have been tweeting pictures to show us that the people there are not looting. See this one for example:
    All that said, I understand gangs go to such areas and loot unprotected property. People say this went on in the aftermath of the quake of ’99.

  8. Hasan bey, you can look at the ‘grid’ from here (the site they apparently used):
    It looks like the fault line is somewhat straight though not really grid-like. I will say this though: it is grossly irresponsible journalism to just grab stuff off the ‘net and republish w/o adding anything to it. They could have asked those experts who appear on TV, they could have tried to reproduce what that video showed etc. etc. Perhaps that’s too much to ask from people who grab pictures of naked women off the net and put them in their papers.
    (I have another link for you in the next comment)

  9. Oops, the link I meant to give has been blocked. Here it used to be:
    It can still be found elsewhere perhaps, but I cannot check/verify it now. The point would have been this: complex/natural phenomena can produce regularity for — partly — well-understood reasons. That documentary had examples in it.

  10. I also debunked this grid thing elsewhere yesterday. People were ranting about it last May too, when Simav had an earthquake:

    People seem to think it is a mega-weapon:

  11. Hasan bey, some sozluk people looked into that conspiracy theory:
    Just fyi.

  12. Bulent bey,
    Check these out :



  13. A torrent link for “The Secret Life of Chaos by BBC Science” can be found by googling for “The_Secret_Life_of_Chaos_BBC_Science_XviD_AC3.avi”

    There are others but this one had the max seeders when I searched.

  14. here is another one :


  15. Thanks CA.
    C. Berlinski picked it up too:
    Hasan bey, Berlinski is right, there are quite a few loons in the US. I think among the consumers of such conspiracy theories here, there are both deep anti-US sentiment and the belief that the US is far more advanced and powerful than it actually is. Both are needed for such things to spread. (Same with Israel, I’ve even seen pieces that claimed they somehow made the PM fall from that horse. Though in that case there’s also the assumption of perfection on the part of the PM. Y’know, it has to be some Israeli magic because, as in all things, our PM is a perfect rider.)

  16. Alex Christie-Miller’s account:

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