Which Is Stronger, Man's or Nature's?

By Min Zan


ON 6 February, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake occurred in southern Türkiye near the northern border of Syria. This quake was followed approximately nine hours later by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake located around 59 miles (95 kilometres) to the southwest. As of 9 February, at least 1,206 aftershocks have been reported.


The earthquake was the most devastating to hit earthquake-prone Türkiye in more than 20 years and was as strong as one in 1939, the most powerful recorded there.


The initial earthquake was centred near Gaziantep in south-central Türkiye, home to thousands of Syrian refugees and the many humanitarian aid organizations also based there. Governments around the world were quick to respond to requests for international assistance, deploying rescue teams and offering aid. The country of former Turkey is recognized in English as Türkiye by the United Nations.


Syria’s current complex humanitarian emergency is among the largest humanitarian crises in the world and the earthquake will only exacerbate the situation and vulnerabilities. One obstacle in assessing the death toll and response efforts in Syria is that the government does not control all of the northwest, the area hardest hit by the earthquake.


In northwest Syria, 4.1 million people already depend on humanitarian assistance, the majority of whom are women and children. While countries have offered to support Türkiye, getting aid to affected Syrians is likely to be more difficult, considering the country is not controlled by one authority. However, support to the most affected areas of Syria will be critical since the existing humanitarian response is largely overstretched with a funding gap of 48 per cent identified for the last quarter of 2022. Limited capacities in northwest Syria, including the lack of equipment and fuel, continue to hamper search and rescue and recovery efforts.


In their 9 February Flash Update, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) listed the following primary needs for northwest Syria: “1) heavy machines for debris removal, 2) cash distribution, 3) tents, isolation sheets and NFIs [non-food items], 4) heating materials, 5) emergency food and bread assistance, 6) water trucking and garbage removals, 7) ambulances and medicines, 8) fuel for hospitals and health centres, 9) rental trucks and vans to transport people, 10) reception centres for IDPs [internally displaced persons] and 11) safe spaces for women and girls.”


Earthquakes are among the most devastating natural hazards. Türkiye’s two main fault zones make the region one of the most seismically active in the world. Natural hazards only become disasters when they interact with a human society or community, referred to as vulnerability in disaster studies.


In this disaster, vulnerability looks like poorly constructed buildings that do not meet modern earthquake building standards, thousands of Syrian refugees in Turkiye or displaced people in northwest Syria that live in informal settlements, destruction of infrastructure within Syria after years of war and aerial bombings, an ongoing complex humanitarian emergency in Syria due to conflict, and a cholera outbreak.


For these reasons, the earthquake that has devastated Türkiye and Syria cannot be called a “natural disaster”. While natural hazards, such as earthquakes, are inevitable, the impact they have on society is not. Funders can help minimize the impact of this unfolding disaster and additional disasters in Türkiye and Syria by advocating for safe building construction, supporting risk communication campaigns, investing over the long term to ensure a full recovery that incorporates risk reduction, and strengthening preparedness and resilience.


The above paragraphs mentioned are the brief information copied from the internet page below. After reading it, I suddenly remembered the cyclone “Nargis” that devastated the coastal areas of the Ayeyrwady Region and Yangon Region in May 2008. “Nargis” left Myanmar with over a lakh of lost lives and countless numbers of properties there. I happened to think the conflict between man and nature began long, long ago. In the history of our society, there have been many incidents of conflict. Here, there is a query. How many times has man conquered nature?


In reality, man is a weak creature in the animal kingdom. However, man possesses a bigger brain and more qualified intellect than other animals, so they become the most powerful creature in the world. They can create the best benefit for society as well as can create the worst weapon that destroys the whole world. In one of the paragraphs, the information said that trouble cannot be called a “natural disaster”. Nevertheless, whenever man meets nature in a battle, it is a rule that they lose it. However hard they try to protect the disasters in various ways costing much money and using advanced technologies, they lost the battle.


Man versus nature is an excellent external conflict for a story for many reasons. First of all, there are endless ways that nature can provide a problem for your characters. If your characters are facing natural disasters, there are plenty to choose from. tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, blizzards, avalanches, volcanic eruptions, dust storms, earthquakes, and wildfires can be excellent catalysts for your characters to do something. Droughts and famines, whether as natural disasters or effects of a natural or man-made disaster, are also great story fodder.


The effects of mankind trying to control nature is another conflict that comes up in real life and in stories — over-farming, deforestation, draining of resources, and pollution can provide ample story ideas. When a character faces resistance or struggles in parts of nature, like surviving in new or hostile environments, the story can be a great way to explore other conflicts and themes that are more internal.


The natural force becomes a metaphor for inner conflict. While some fantasy stories may use a supernatural force as the catalyst for the conflict, the overall conflict should lie in a natural force. Otherwise, the main conflict of the story would be person vs. supernatural. Why are there so many types of conflict in nature? Because humans are inextricably linked to nature. We all deal with the effects of natural forces, whether it’s climate change, the weather, disasters, or just our environment. It’s something familiar that has been part of our entire history.


We can apply that same familiarity to any story involving nature. The characters don’t have to be human, and the world doesn’t have to be planet Earth. I’ve never been trapped in a desert on an alien planet, but I’ve felt extreme heat sickness. I’ve never crossed a tundra, but I have lost heat during an ice storm in a place that is woefully underprepared for freezing weather. Man vs. nature needs strong sensory details to pull readers in. ProWritingAid’s Sensory Report, a powerful online proofreading and editing software, can help you hit all the senses to make your nature conflict engaging and real.


You’ll see how many of each type of sense word you’ve used so you can create a balanced, rounded description. Because of that familiar sense of conflict with our environment, we can invest ourselves emotionally into conflicts involving the natural world. This is what keeps writers writing about man versus nature conflicts and what keeps readers reading them.


In sum, although how hard man tries to defy the following natural disasters, such as Earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, tornado, flood, droughts, volcanic eruptions, avalanche, wildfire, cyclone, blizzard, landslide, heatwave, hailstorm, thunderstorm, etc., in various ways, it is not sure they overcome the attacks of nature. Why? It will be the best answer to my question in the title of this article.


Reference: https://disasterphilanthropy.org/disasters/2023-turkey-syria-earthquake/