Natural Disasters In… Archives

2 Major Quakes In Turkey: 2011

Two Major Earthquakes Hit Turkey Just Weeks Apart in 2011

Two major earthquakes in Turkey occurred less than 3 weeks apart.  Turkey is situated above two major fault lines and is prone to frequent earthquakes. Hopefully knowing this fact will prompt people to be prepared with an emergency plan in place.  The first quake was a magnitude 7.1 (initially reported as 7.2) on October 23, 2011 with the epicenter located 9 miles NNE of the city of Van.

More than 600 people were killed in this first earthquake with more than 4,000 people injured.  At least 2,000 buildings were destroyed in this 7.1 quake and nearly 4,000 more were determined to be uninhabitable.  Over 1,000 aftershocks resulted from this powerful quake.  Locals have criticized the slowness of the government’s response.

A second earthquake measuring 5.6 (preliminary measurement was 5.7) took place just 17 days later on November 9, 2011.  This second quake was not an aftershock but an entirely new plate movement which was centered 9 miles south of Van, Turkey on a new fault line.  Although the epicenters of the two earthquakes were located on opposite sides of Van, the actual distance between the two epicenters are only approximately 25 miles apart.

As shown in the video above, rescue teams in Van, Turkey sprang back into action searching through rubble, responding to reports of voices calling for help after a second major earthquake struck the region causing two hotels and dozens of other buildings to collapse.

More than a week before the second quake, officials had told locals that it was safe to go back inside.  This decision has been seen as a tragic misjudgment by some.  Eyewitnesses had described seeing large cracks in the walls of a hotel in the center of Van which collapsed during the second quake.  The hotel was reported to have had dozens of occupants, some of which have been able to be rescued alive.

Questions are being asked as to why a comprehensive assessment of the structure and safety of the remaining buildings were not made in a timely manner after the second quake.  Turkish authorities stated that plans are in place to conduct these inspections following the Eid holidays.

Experienced rescue teams with heavy lifting equipment were on hand in Turkey in the region following the second quake.

2 Earthquakes In Oklahoma: 2011

Earthquakes in Oklahoma — two quakes in one day!

Two separate earthquakes, two separate epicenters…

both on November 5, 2011!

Now when Oklahoma residents plan for emergency, they better prepare for dealing with earthquakes as well as tornadoes.  Seismic activity has been on the rise over recent years in Oklahoma, although most of the quakes are too small to be felt.  The exception to that recent pattern took place on the 5th of November in 2011 when two shakers were most definitely felt by all in the area.

The above NBC news video reports on the 5.6 magnitude earthquake which struck 50 miles outside of Oklahoma City, 4 miles east of Sparks, Oklahoma, at 10:53 p.m. on November 5, 2011.  The 5.6 quake was  felt throughout the midwest as far south as Texas and as far north as Illinois.  Several homes and buildings suffered cracks and minor damage and part of US Highway 62 buckled under the quake.

The 5.6 earthquake followed a previous quake earlier the same day at 3:53 a.m., which measured 4.7 on the Richter Scale.  The first quake hit about 70 miles east of Oklahoma City near Prague, Oklahoma. The epicenters of the two quakes were quite close in proximity as Sparks and Prague are located approximately 10 miles apart.

The 5.6 earthquake is the largest in Oklahoma’s history, breaking the record of a 1952 earthquake which measured 5.5 and occurred approximately 30 miles west of Oklahoma City in El Reno.


Natural disasters in 2010 are highlighted in this CNN news video. The year began with the gripping emotional images of a catastrophic 7.0 earthquake that destroyed Haiti’s capital city. One has to wonder if Haiti had been able to implement disaster preparedness plans and updated building codes, how much different would the outcome have been. Miraculously, even in the midst of overwhelming loss of life and destruction, survivors would be helped to safety. One man was even found alive after he had been trapped under rubble for almost 4 weeks.

In the United States the 2010 headlines were filled with stories of extreme weather that was wreaking havoc in various locations across the country. One teenage girl hanging on for dear life during a catastrophic flood in Oklahoma was rescued as she clung to a tree as raging flood waters surrounded her.

Back to back blizzards dubbed “snowmageddon” and “snowpocalypse,” struck the United States capital, not only causing road closures and school closures, but also forcing the federal government to shut down.

Dramatic video captured a tornado spewing debris everywhere as it hit a Minnesota farm, amazingly no one was injured.

Images of animals, still alive, yet covered completely by thick, grimy oil was not the result of a “natural” disaster, but nevertheless the BP oil disaster had a disastrous affect on nature and these images will remain etched in our memory. And then when we saw video footage of the fortunate birds that were able to be cleaned up, rehabilitated and released back into the wild, well, it was an incredible sight to behold after the overwhelming circumstances in this massive oil disaster.

When a disastrous gas explosion took 8 lives in Northern California and leveled homes throughout the neighborhood our hearts go out to those affected by this tragedy.

And then there was the disaster that lasted for 69 days. A disaster that held the world captive until every last one of the Chilean miners was freed from deep under the earth’s surface. The story of their bravery and desire to survive, their sheer will and determination, as well as the amazing bravery of their rescuers as they were brought up to the surface victoriously was terrifyingly inspirational.

These events are only a sampling of the several hundred natural disasters that occurred throughout the world in 2010. It would behoove us all to make sure that we have an emergency plan in place in our homes, in the workplace, and when we’re traveling so that we will be prepared should we be faced with an unexpected disaster.

Natural disasters in 2010 marked this year as one of the most deadly years in the past twenty years giving us a stark reminder of the importance of planning for emergency.  According to this video by the United Nations, floods, storms, extreme temperatures, and earthquakes were the most common occurrences during the year.

A top UN official in the disaster reduction department stated that better disaster preparedness must be implemented now because climate change is expected to cause weather related disasters to increase in the coming years. Nations must coordinate efforts to be prepared for catastrophic events in order to reduce losses incurred during disasters and to help communities and nations become more resilient.

2010 Natural Disaster Facts

  • 373 natural disasters
  • 296,800 lives lost
  • 225,000 people killed in the Haiti quake (75% of the year’s disaster fatalities)
  • 56,000 fatalities in the Russian summer heatwave (20% of the year’s disaster fatalities)
  • 208 million people directly affected
  • Asia had 4.7% of disaster fatalities
  • Asia nevertheless remains the most prone region to natural disasters
  • 89% of those affected by 2010 disasters were from Asia
  • 5 out of the top 10 most deadly disasters in 2010, occurred in China, Pakistan, & Indonesia
  • 3,000 killed by earthquakes in China
  • 530 killed in Indonesia earthquake in October
  • 1,500 died in China floods
  • 1,765 Chinese fatalities from mudslides, landslides after August’s heavy rains
  • 2,000 people died in massive floods in Pakistan
  • $110 billion total cost related to all 2010 natural disasters. Only 2 other years had a higher total: $139 billion in 2005 (which included hurricanes Katrina, Rita, & Wilma) and $200 billion in 2008 (which included the quake in Sichuan, China).
  • $18 billion losses in China from the summer floods and landslides
  • $9.5 billion cost in Pakistan floods
  • $8 billion damage by Haiti quake
  • $30 billion damages from Chile earthquake, making it the most costly disaster of 2010

The above facts were included in an article by the UN (United Nations) News Centre.   With 373 natural disasters in the year 2010, it was not possible to include information on each of them in this article.  Additional information can be found on other natural disasters that happened in 2010 by checking out MSNBC’s scientific perspective,  or read about the rise of global disaster in 2010 at CBC News where you’ll also find a link to a detailed report on disaster statistics for 2010.

It is vital to plan for emergency now, beginning with your own individual/family’s plan; however, it is also critical for preparation to be made by businesses, schools, churches, communities, and even on the national level.