50,000 buildings in Istanbul at risk of collapse: Environment minister
DHA photoThere are 50,000 buildings in Istanbul that are at great risk of collapse, Turkish Environment Minister Mehmet Özhaseki has said, noting that the fate of the edifices had a bearing on the lives of upward of a million people.
Urban renewal affects the lives of 1.2 million people, Özhaseki said at a conference in Istanbul on Jan. 15, noting that there were at-risk buildings in 48 areas of 19 districts in the city.
The problems in the city stem from the fact that Istanbul was unprepared for the waves of migrants who came to the city, he said, noting that urban planning works were conducted too late.
Özhaseki also said a potential earthquake seriously threatened the buildings.
“When we look at the reports that I have, it is impossible not to get concerned,” said Özhaseki, noting the existence of a fault line that begins in the eastern province of Erzincan and extends all the way to Istanbul. Moreover, given the fact the last major earthquake in Istanbul was 17 years ago, the chances of a new temblor occurring are rising with each passing day, he added.
“Scientists say they expect earthquakes in Istanbul on four different fault lines by 2030, and what they all have in common is that it could be tomorrow or in 2030, and the magnitude might be as high as 7,” said Özhaseki.
Özhaseki’s remarks came two days after two people were killed when a six-story abandoned apartment building collapsed in the Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul.
Seventeen others were also injured in the incident, Istanbul Gov. Vasip Şahin told reporters following a visit to the scene.
The collapsed building was abandoned after a demolition decision was taken two years ago, District Gov. Ali Taşkın Balaban said.