At least 749 earthquakes have hit the Marmara province of Çanakkale since Feb. 6, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) has stated.
The first wave of the earthquakes was recorded on Feb. 6 at 6:51 a.m. in the province’s Ayvacık district with a 5.3-magnitude temblor. That was followed by another one with the same magnitude at 13.58 p.m. on the same day, and the latest major quake occurred in Ayvacık on Feb. 12 with the same magnitude, according to AFAD.
A number of buildings in the region were damaged and many locals settled in tent cities set up near the village of Yukarıköy, which was severely damaged by the quakes.
AFAD and the Turkish Red Crescent are currently setting up a container city for victims in the area.
Schools in the district were also canceled for a week due to the earthquakes.
The Çanakkale Governor’s Office announced on Feb. 7 that eight people were injured in the first quake on Feb. 6, five of whom were discharged from hospital and three of whom were in a stable condition.
Professor Haluk Özener, the head of the Kandilli Observatory and the Earthquake Research Institute, said the quakes were “unsurprising” and noted that earthquakes between the 5 and 5.5 magnitude range were “natural” for the region.
Prof. Dr. Övgün Ercan, an academic at the Faculty of Mines at Istanbul Technical University, warned about another wave of earthquakes, saying a major earthquake was expected “within the next 15 to 20 days.”
“Faultlines in the region cannot discharge their tension. So an earthquake with a magnitude of at least 6 are expected within the next 15 to 20 days,” Ercan said.
Environment Minister Mehmet Özhaseki issued warnings following the recent earthquakes in Çanakkale and Malatya, reminding them that Turkey stood on active fault lines.
“Some 42 percent of territory in Turkey is at risk of earthquakes. We need to act by keeping this reality in mind. We should build safe buildings on stable bases,” Özhaseki said.
He also announced that 500,000 buildings would be constructed in 2018 as part of urban transformation pilot projects aiming to build safe and secure buildings.