LAHORE – The death toll from a powerful earthquake and its dozens of aftershocks that jolted Turkey and Syria continues to rise. The first earthquake hit at 4:17am (01:17 GMT) on Monday and its epicenter was in the Pazarcik district of Kahramanmaras Province.
According to the United States Geological Service (USGS), the earthquake struck at a depth of about 17.9km (11 miles). Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said the magnitude was 7.4 near the cities of Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep.
At least 3,600 deaths were reported in Turkey, while more than 1,600 people lost their lives in Syria. The death toll is likely to climb as rescue efforts are underway to recover people trapped under the rubble of thousands of buildings flattened during the earthquake.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced seven days national mourning in the country for the victims the earthquake. World leaders have pledged to send aid after Turkiye issued an international appeal for help.
Turkiye, formerly Turkey, is located in one of the seismically active regions and is more vulnerable to such disasters. The country of around 85 million suffered one of the worst quakes in 1999 in which more than 17,000 people were killed.
Amid the catastrophic situation, a section of social media is busy in coining conspiracy theories that hint towards human involvement in the deadly earthquake. A number of videos, which show lighting strikes at the time of earthquake, are being posted on social media claiming that the quake was artificially made. Some users believe the lighting strikes are not normal in earthquakes.
A user also linked the earthquake with HAARP – The High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program – a US research centre studies the properties and behaviour of the ionosphere.
“The earthquake in Turkey looks like a punitive operation (HAARP) by NATO or the US against Turkey. The video shows lightning strikes, which are not normal in earthquakes, but always happen in harp operations,” reads the tweet.
The earthquake in Turkey looks like a punitive operation (HAARP) by NATO or the US against Turkey.— Gina Boahen (@SnezhinaBoahen) February 6, 2023
The video shows lightning strikes, which are not normal in earthquakes, but always happen in harp operations. pic.twitter.com/Puv1Ns3GW3
On the other hand, some responded to the claim stating that earthquake lightning is believed to be electric charging from certain types of rock in the earth's crust from seismic activity. It may also be a power grid substation being destroyed.
This is not the first time that HAARP was blamed for such calamities by the conspiracy theorists. Earlier it was claimed for the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2010 Chile earthquake and tsunami, and the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. A massive landslide in Philippines that killed more than a thousand people in 2006 was also linked to HAARP.
Besides social media users, worlds leaders have also raised fingers over the role of the HAARP in disasters. In 2010, then President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the US project for creating electromagnetic waves for sparking floods in Pakistan.
In the same year, then President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez said a tectonic weapon being tested by the US had caused the deadly earthquake in Haiti.
What is HAARP?
HAARP stands for High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, a US project based in an observatory in Alaska that studies the upper atmosphere using radio transmitters. The official websites of the project says it is “studying the properties and behavior of the ionosphere. The ionosphere stretches roughly 50 to 400 miles above Earth's surface, right at the edge of space. Along with the neutral upper atmosphere, the ionosphere forms the boundary between Earth's lower atmosphere — where we live and breathe — and the vacuum of space."
Operation of the research facility was transferred from the United States Air Force to the University of Alaska Fairbanks on Aug. 11, 2015, allowing HAARP to continue with exploration of ionospheric phenomenology via a land-use cooperative research and development agreement.
Although the project had never officially responded to the earthquake claims, it has talked about weather manipulation theories. An online portal 'editorji' quoted HAARP scientists as saying that the facility cannot control weather.
Pakistani currency remains largely stable against US dollar in the open market on February 27, 2024 (Tuesday).
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.4 for buying and 282.3 for selling.
Euro currently stands at 303 for buying and 306 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 351.5 for buying, and 355 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 76.7.
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