79 pct of buildings in Turkey are vulnerable to earthquakes: report

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A report by a parliamentary committee has found that 79 percent of all buildings in Turkey are vulnerable to earthquakes, Turkish media reported on Wednesday.

According to the 533-page report submitted by the parliamentary Earthquake Investigation Committee to the Speaker’s Office, the buildings in question were considered to be at risk because they were built before 2000.

A total of TL 2.3 trillion ($268.5 billion) will be required to make 6.7 million housing units across the country earthquake resistant, but “it is unlikely that public authorities will allocate such funds in a short period of time,” the report said.

Of 659 schools that were designated in 2020 as needing reinforcement against earthquakes, the work has been completed only for 278, with work on 381schools still underway.

More than 10 million buildings in Turkey are insured against earthquake, corresponding to 57 percent of all structures, thanks to the existence of mandatory earthquake insurance.

The report also noted that there are an inadequate number open and public areas that can be designated for the gathering of residents in the event of an earthquake, particularly in big cities.

Regular and needs-based allocation of resources cannot be made for the improvement of buildings vulnerable to earthquakes due to a lack of risk prioritization and risk mitigation programs, the report said.

For the rapid implementation of policies to minimize earthquake damage, legislation should be drafted and resources allocated to mitigate disasters, including earthquakes, from the central budget, and taxes should be imposed on specified transactions, the report advised, noting that an earthquake fund should be created to this end.

Turkey is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. In August 1999 a 7.6 magnitude quake struck İzmit, southeast of İstanbul, claiming the lives of more than 17,000 people including hundreds in İstanbul.

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