Nearly a quarter of İstanbulites would not move from structurally unsound buildings: survey

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A view of İstanbul from the tallest building in the city. AFP PHOTOS

A survey conducted by the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) has revealed that almost a quarter of people living in İstanbul would not move from buildings even if they were declared structurally unsound, with most of them citing financial reasons.

The survey, which aimed at gauging earthquake perception and readiness among residents of İstanbul, was based on phone calls between November 5 and 7 to 769 people living in the city.

According to the survey published on Friday on the official website of the İBB’s Statistical Office, only 62.5 percent of people living in İstanbul say they would move to a new and safer building if the building they lived in was declared structurally unsound after an inspection by experts.

A total of 22.6 percent said they would not move even if their building were declared structurally unsound, with 80 percent of them stating that their decision would be due to financial difficulties they have been experiencing lately.

Almost 70 percent of respondents who said they would continue living in an unsound building due to financial reasons also said the buildings they currently live in were constructed before a magnitude 7.6 earthquake in 1999 killed more than 17,000 people in northwestern Turkey, including hundreds in İstanbul.

The survey said 52 percent of participants also currently live in buildings that were constructed before the 1999 earthquake, with 32.3 percent of them saying their buildings would collapse and 22.4 saying their buildings would be severely damaged in the event of an earthquake in İstanbul with a magnitude of at least 7.0.

According to the survey, only 27.9 percent of participants said they had an earthquake preparedness bag, with 25.6 percent of them in the lower-middle and lower socioeconomic group and 35.8 in the upper-middle and upper socioeconomic group.

A total of 52.6 percent of participants stated that they didn’t know the location of the nearest emergency assembly area in their neighborhood.

While 47.9 percent of the 18-40 age group said they knew the location of the nearest assembly area, 46.9 percent of respondents aged 40 and over were aware of the location.

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