TURKEY: The Freezing Shock of Disaster

At 2:25 p.m. last Wednesday, walls began to shake and buckle in Muradiye, a hardscrabble, mud-and-stone mountain town near the Turko-Iranian border. Soon houses were crumbling across an area of 300 sq. mi. The worst Turkish earthquake in nearly 40 years, measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale,* had convulsed the eastern part of the country, with Muradiye at its epicenter. At week's end it was estimated that 5,000 people had died in the quake and its aftershocks; countless thousands of others were suffering from hunger and exposure.

Rescue workers could only guess at the actual extent of devastation on the remote,...

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