A massive earthquake of magnitude 7.8 centred in the Pazarcik district jolted Kahramanmaras. It hit several provinces, including Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Adana, Adiyaman, Malatya, Osmaniye, Hatay, and Kilis, as per the Anadolu Agency report.
It was followed by quakes of magnitude 7.6 and 6.0 which hit the southern region of Turkiye and neighbouring areas of Syria, causing catastrophic loss of life and property on February 6, 2023.
Another 5.6 earthquake struck on February 7, 2023. At least 100 aftershocks measuring 4.0 or greater have occurred since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck, the US Geological Survey said.
Several reports have stated that the death toll is over 5000 now. Rescue operations continued. Turkiye has declared seven days of national mourning. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a disaster zone for the ten provinces affected by the devastating earthquakes, imposing a state of emergency in the region for three months.
This gut-wrenching calamity has witnessed not only the loss of life but also the loss of significant heritage sites in the affected region.
India’s Swift Response
Meanwhile, “First Indian C17 flight with more than 50 NDRF Search and Rescue personnel, specially trained dog squads, drilling machines, relief material, medicines and other necessary utilities & equipment reaches Adana, Türkiye,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said while tweeting some images of the consignment.
India has also dispatched the 2nd batch of aid to Turkiye with an Indian Air Force (IAF) C-17 loaded with self-contained NDRF teams, including dog squads, search & rescue equipment, extrication tools, and vehicles as part of the Humanitarian And Disaster Relief (HADR) to earthquake-hit Turkey.
India’s goodwill and swift response, along with approximately 70 countries, have accelerated the disaster relief and rescue operations. Turkish Ambassador to India Firat Sunel, thanking Prime Minister Modi, wrote: ‘Dost’ is a common word in Turkish and Hindi… We have a Turkish proverb: “Dost kara günde belli olur” (a friend in need is a friend indeed).”
Simultaneously, according to the Indian Army, a 99-member medical team has been dispatched from Agra based 60 Para Field Hospital, and the team has a critical care specialist. Apart from other medical teams, there are Medical Specialist teams, Orthopedic Surgical teams, and General Surgical Specialist teams. Also, the units are equipped with an Oxygen generation plant, Cardiac monitors, X-ray machines, ventilators, and associated equipment, which will help to establish a 30 bedded medical facility.
Indian Roadmap: How India revamped its Disaster Management Model
India is one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries, exposed to many natural hazards, including floods, cyclones, droughts, and earthquakes.
India started reorganizing its domestic Disaster Management (DM) system after major disasters, including the 1999 Super Cyclone Odisha (formerly known as Orissa), the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The aftermath of these devastating disasters led India to enact the DM Act in 2005, adopt the National Policy on DM in 2009, and develop the National DM Plan in 2016.
For instance, India was the first to lend a helping hand to a distressed neighbourhood. It displayed its spirited efforts during the devastating Nepal earthquake in 2015. Charting a new course in “disaster diplomacy”, PM Modi proved India’s leadership credentials in the Indian subcontinent. Tonnes of relief material and NDRF teams with equipment were dispatched to the neighbouring Nation. India was hailed globally.
India plays an active role in global initiatives on disaster management. India is a signatory to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and is committed to achieving the priorities and objectives through systematic and institutional efforts.
It had signed several bilateral/ multilateral Agreements/MoUs with several countries for cooperation in disaster management, like the Swiss Confederation, Russian Federation, Germany, Japan, Tajikistan, Mongolia, Italy, Bangladesh, etc.
During the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit in New York, PM Modi launched an international partnership, the coalition for disaster resilient infrastructure or CDRI, to help build infrastructure around the world that is resilient to natural disasters.
At COP 27 Summit, held in November 2022, the CDRI announced a 50 million dollar trust fund to fund disaster-resilient infrastructure systems in developing countries and island nations facing the greatest climate change threats. The Governments of India, the United Kingdom, Australia and the European Union support the infrastructure resilience accelerator fund (IRAF).
The robust commitment is evident that India, under its G20 Presidency, has been raising concerns that hold global importance. One such concern is building a resilient world that deals with disasters and climate change. As part of its unique contribution as G20 President, a new working group on disaster risk reduction will be constituted in this regard.
The budgetary provision for disaster management has increased by 122 per cent in the last eight years. The Central Government has also allocated Rs 13,693 crore for the National Disaster Mitigation Fund and Rs 32,031 crore for the State Disaster Mitigation Fund for 2021-22 to 2025-26.
The response to disasters in India has been made relief-centric, early warning-centric, proactive and early preparedness-based. The country has moved from a relief-centric approach towards disaster management to minimising the loss of life and property.