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Earthquakes in Turkey. Istanbul. Residents of the buildings fear for their safety

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More than 15 million people live in Istanbul, one of the world’s largest metropolises. The mayor of the city estimates that if there was an earthquake in the area, up to 90,000 buildings could be completely destroyed. In addition, there are over 300,000 buildings in the city that do not meet safety standards, which nevertheless have permission for further use. Among the most exposed structures are many workplaces and residential homes. How to limit, as far as possible, the potential danger? The BBC writes that “the race is on to prepare the city” in case of an earthquake.

In the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria February 6, over 52,000 died. people. Many of them were asleep at that moment, because the event took place in the morning. In the following days, the earth shook several more times.

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan in mid-February he said that the quake was “strong as atomic bombs”and in the southern regions of the country, hundreds of thousands of buildings are uninhabitable.

Due to the huge destruction and losses associated with it, there are many questions about security, also in Turkey’s largest and most populous city, Istanbul. Over 15 million people live in the city located on the North Anatolian Fault, it is also the largest cultural and business center of the country and one of the largest metropolises in the world. According to experts, it is likely that by 2030 the city will be hit by a major earthquake.

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SEE ALSO: Turkey. The camera captured the beginning of the Malatya earthquake. Recordings

Mayor of Istanbul: There are about 90,000 buildings that are at risk of being destroyed in the event of an earthquake

The mayor of the city, Ekrem Imamoglu, spoke in an alarmist tone in mid-February. At that time, he reported that there are about 90,000 buildings in Istanbul that are in danger of being completely destroyed in the event of an earthquake.

Among the most vulnerable buildings are many workplaces and residential homes. – We are aware that we have to act very quickly in terms of modernization works – said the mayor. He pointed out that there are 317,000 buildings in the city that do not meet safety standards and have received permission from the central authorities for further use.

– The state should not have done this, these buildings are disturbed, placed in the wrong places and will eventually collapse. I would really like to be able to tell Istanbulers one day that they can sleep peacefully in their homes.”

SEE ALSO: Four apartment buildings collapsed, a couple of developers arrested. They wanted to flee Turkey

“The race is on to prepare the city” for an earthquake

The story of Mesut Muttaliboglu described by the BBC can illustrate the situation related to the potential danger.

“The crack in the wall of Mesut Muttaliboglu’s bedroom is so wide that a car key could fit through it. That’s why he and his family are moving out of the apartment where they lived for the last 15 years. The entire building has been given a negative rating after an earthquake safety test There is a very high probability that the shock would raze the entire building to the ground, “the portal of the Byty broadcaster writes.

The BBC adds that around 70 per cent of Istanbul’s buildings were built before the 1999 rule changes that imposed stricter building standards. “Therefore, they are considered potentially dangerous. Just three months ago, a study showed that an earthquake in this place could kill up to 90,000 people. Now the race is on to prepare cities.”

Housing estates in IstanbulShutterstock

“Mesut knows all too well what damage an earthquake can do”

However, the fate of Mesut Muttaliboglu is not only the fear associated with his forced removal from a block of flats in Istanbul at risk of destruction. The BBC writes that he “knows all too well what damage an earthquake can cause”.

He recently returned from Kahramanmaras province, which was the epicenter of the earthquake in early February. The man in an interview with the BBC describes the moment he found out about the quake.

“It happened at 04:17, a relative called and we all woke up screaming. It’s a terrible situation. We couldn’t get [do Kahramanmaras] for three days because of the snow and when we got to the rubble it was very hard. I can’t describe it. I hope God doesn’t let anyone else experience this.”

Kahramanmaras province was particularly affected by the earthquakePAP/EPA/TOLGA BOZOGLU

Endangered residential buildings in Istanbul

Dr. Kurtulus Atasever, an earthquake engineer, describes the dangers of building safety in Istanbul using concrete examples in an interview with a BBC reporter.

The interlocutors stood on a patch of ground strewn with stones, which had once been the foundation of the building. When Istanbul was hit by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in 2019, the building was so badly damaged that it had to be demolished. The specialist also pays attention to the problems of others around.

“We have several overhangs here. In this type of buildings, we have several weak, (…), storeys. There are also short columns, actually all of them pose a construction problem” – describes Atasever on the example of one of the buildings.

Effects of the earthquake in TurkeyPAP/EPA/SEDAT SUNA

Earthquake in Turkey and Syria

The affected region of south-eastern Turkey and north-western Syria is seismically active and tremors are frequent. However, the beginning of February is the most powerful cataclysm of this type in this region in recent times. In 1999, the earthquake in Izmit, Turkey, killed 17,000-18,000 people. Measurements showed that the quake had a magnitude of 7.6.

Before and after the passage of the element. The enormity of the damage visible in the drone shots

Tragic earthquakes

The deadliest earthquake in the history of seismic measurements was recorded in 1976 in the Chinese province of Tangshan. The official figures of the authorities spoke of 250,000 victims. They were probably greatly underestimated, because some sources gave the number of people killed as high as 650,000. The Tangshan disaster had an official magnitude of 7.5 on the Richter scale, although other measurements indicated as high as 8.2. 9.5 degrees had the strongest recorded quake in history, in 1960, in Chile. More than 1,650 people died then.

In Besnia, one of the Turkish cities affected by the cataclysm, the TVN24 crew – Paweł Łukasik and Tomasz Burdal – were present. See their reports:

Reports by Paweł Łukasik and Tomasz Burdal from Turkey

The report of Paweł Łukasik and Tomasz Burdal from Turkey. Mustafa is waiting for his brother for the sixth dayTVN24
video 2/ /12

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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