Turkey and Syria remind us of the Earth's power

Looking at the horrific footage emerging from Turkey and Syria reminds me, once again, of the Earth's overwhelming power.  All the Gaia-worship in the world won't change that — although rising affluence and building codes can help.

Eastern Turkey was hit in the night with a 7.8-magnitude quake, which is enormous.  The Loma Prieta quake, which liquefied the ground near the San Francisco Bay, destroying blocks of houses and apartments, while taking down part of the Bay Bridge and a freeway, was 6.9 on the Richter scale.  A second, 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit again in the morning.  The first count of the dead is 1,600 people, although that will rise quickly.  The quake also hit Syria, although no information has emerged yet.

The footage is overwhelming:

Currently, information is scarce, but I do have a few comments:

1. Israel will almost certainly send search and rescue teams, along with emergency health care teams, to Turkey because she always does.  It will be interesting to see whether the Turkish government allows them in.  Turkey will need the help but may not want ordinary Turkish citizens to glimpse that Israel is not an evil nation.  Whether Israel tries to send help to Syria remains to be seen.

2. The world will be reminded yet again that the Earth's power dwarfs anything that humans can do.  The left's view on climate change shows a certain arrogance; we cannot control the climate — although we can and should work to limit pollution.

3. There is one way to limit earthquake damage at least a little bit, and that's through affluence.  With affluence comes building codes.  In a huge quake, as was the case with the 9.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Japan in 2011, only to be followed by a tsunami, even building codes may be inadequate to protect against massive damage.  However, when it comes to lesser quakes, sound building practices matter.

That affluence has come only through the free market and human liberty.  Countries that reject those values never manage to achieve a level of wealth that allows for quality building codes.

In eastern Turkey and Syria, neither affluent regions, one can be assured that no building codes existed to protect against the quakes that have plagued the region for millennia.  Without those codes, buildings collapse like pancakes, taking lives and treasure with them.

I'm opposed to Recip Erdoğan's government and the extremist direction in which he's taken Turkey, as I am opposed to Syria, which is a place of Islamic radicalism and extreme antisemitism.  Nevertheless, my heart goes out to the people in those regions decimated by the quake.  When the earth shakes, we must all tremble.

Image: Twitter screen grab.

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