22.6 percent of İstanbul’s buildings will collapse in anticipated quake: mayor

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İstanbul's new mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu in a city tram.

İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has said İstanbul is not ready for a major earthquake expected by the scientific community and that 22.6 percent of the buildings are predicted to collapse in the event of a 7.5 magnitude temblor, the T24 news website reported on Monday.

Speaking at a city council meeting İmamoğlu said about half the buildings in Turkey’s largest city were constructed prior to the major earthquake of 1999.

In addition to the buildings that might collapse, the anticipated quake will result in some 25 million tons of rubble and the destruction of 30 percent of the road network as well as inflicting damage on potable water, waste water and natural gas facilities, according to İmamoğlu’s address.

The mayor added that after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred off the coast of Silivri on Sept. 26, 224 buildings were reported to be seriously damaged and that lesser damages were found on 754 others.

İmamoğlu said according to studies conducted by the Marmara Research Center (MAM) and the Kandilli Observatory as well as experts from the İstanbul Municipality, there is 65 percent possibility that an earthquake with a magnitude larger than 7 will occur in the Marmara Sea off the coast of İstanbul within the next 30 years.

He added that taking measures against such an event has become the most important priority of his municipality.

In 1999 an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 to the east of İstanbul claimed the lives of 17,000 people and left more than 250,000 people homeless.

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