Panel Discussion and Exhibition About Earthquakes on February 6, 2023

On the anniversary of the February 6 earthquakes, a panel and exhibition themed "What Have We Learned About the Earthquakes on February 6?" were organized at our University's Prof. Dr. Osman Turan Culture and Congress Center. The Panel aimed for experts to share their experiences of living in the region and the lessons learned within the context of their professional fields after the earthquakes. Attendees included the Trabzon Governor Aziz YILDIRIM, Trabzon Provincial Police Director Murat ESERTÜRK, Ortahisar District Governor Gürkan DEMİRKALE, academicians, students, and members of the press.

After the protocol's tour of the exhibition area, the panel, which began with a moment of silence and the singing of the National Anthem, commenced with the opening speech by our Rector, Prof. Dr. Hamdullah ÇUVALCI. He stated "In fact, earthquakes do not kill, buildings do. We must build our buildings sturdy and base them on science and technology. As our university, in order to deliver aid to the earthquake-stricken area, we worked tirelessly with our entire team and students until the early hours. On the second day of the earthquake, we sent our Civil Defense and Rescue team to the earthquake zone. They assisted in the efforts carried out in the region. In addition, a UMKE (National Medical Rescue Team) team from Farabi Hospital went for help. Especially, our professors from the Department of Civil Engineering went to the region urgently. They are still examining hundreds of files. The reports provided by our professors are more valid and reliable, for which I thank them. In addition, we initiated an in-kind and financial support campaign at our university. At this point, we saw how generous our people are."

Following our rector, Trabzon Governor Aziz YILDIRIM took the floor in his speech. He said, "We lost many of our people in the earthquake centered in Kahramanmaraş on February 6, 2023. The loss of thousands of lives, the disabilities of thousands, and the psychological, sociological, and economic impact of this situation, which will extend over years, will be felt more deeply in society in the coming period. These devastating earthquakes once again confronted us as a state and society with the reality that we must always be prepared for disasters. The earthquakes that caused severe destruction and the loss of tens of thousands of our citizens in 11 provinces underscored the importance of disaster management once again. Despite the great sacrifice shown by the state and the nation in the face of the great disaster we experienced, it has shown us once again that we still have some shortcomings in what needs to be done before and after natural disasters, and that we need to be constantly vigilant about possible disasters."

The program continued with presentations by expert panelists in the venue. Panelists included Director of our University's Environmental Issues Application and Research Center Prof. Dr. Dilek BEYAZLI, AFAD Provincial Director and Geology Engineer Ömer KIRATLI, President of Trabzon Disaster Volunteers Search and Rescue Association (TAKAT) Berna KARA, Assistant Professor Özgenç AKIN from our University's Department of Geophysics Engineering, and Assistant Professor Ayhan KARADAYI from the Department of Architecture and a volunteer with AKUT (Search and Rescue Association), Under the moderation of Director of our University's Environmental Issues Application and Research Center Prof. Dr. Dilek BEYAZLI, panelists gathered to discuss the February 6 earthquakes in depth and to discuss what could be done to be fully prepared for disasters. At this point, in his presentation, Ömer KIRATLI, the Provincial Director of AFAD, said, "On the morning of the earthquake, we immediately gathered our team. We sent some to Adıyaman and we ourselves went to Osmaniye with some of them to take up our duties. We define disasters as events that society alone cannot cope with. Of course, earthquakes are the most damaging among geological disasters. We must know that there are about 500 active faults in our country. When we came to the Kahramanmaraş earthquakes, on the morning of February 6, the state immediately took action collectively. We felt the first earthquake with a magnitude of 7.7 in Trabzon, and we mobilized all the Civil Society Organizations. Of course, we needed 2 million personnel to meet the needs of 11 provinces simultaneously, which was not possible. The aftershocks of the major earthquakes are still ongoing in the region." He emphasized the importance of resilient cities and urban transformation, the establishment of basic disaster awareness, and the qualities that earthquake-resistant buildings must possess.


12 February 2024