2,864 earthquake assembly areas in Istanbul: AFAD head

2,864 earthquake assembly areas in Istanbul: AFAD head

2,864 earthquake assembly areas in Istanbul: AFAD head

There are 2,864 earthquake assembly areas in Istanbul, Mehmet Güllüoğlu, the head of Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), said, in the aftermath of the 5.8-magnitude quake that struck the city on Sept. 26. These assembly areas consist of parks and gardens, he said.

“We have enough number of assembly areas. In Istanbul, this number is 2,684, in Ankara, this number is 1,678, and for Turkey as a whole, this number is 15,995,” Güllüoğlu told daily Hürriyet.

Asked about criticism about the assembly areas being zoned for construction and shopping malls, Güllüoğlu said: “The municipalities are the ones that determine the assembly areas, and it is also the municipalities that have the authority of zoning amendment. AFAD is later notified about that.”

He also said that for the many assembly areas that had been converted to a construction area, hospital or shopping mall, the authorities had instead created new assembly areas in other places.

The head of the chamber of civil engineers, Cemal Gökçe, said that the assembly areas should be areas that are not too close to residential buildings.

“Earthquake assembly area means a place that will not be affected by collapsing buildings. For example, a citizen that lives in a 20-meter-long, seven-floor building should have an earthquake assembly area which is 30 meters away from their building so that if the relevant building collapses, the person is not injured. And these distances should be much longer for higher buildings as in skyscrapers,” Gökçe told daily Hürriyet.

“But when people went out of their workplace buildings the other day [on Sept. 26], they could not find any place to go to. They waited at the door of their workplaces. If a new earthquake was to come and their building was to collapse, they would have also died outside. Let alone, they could have died by the aftershocks if bricks had fallen on their heads,” he said.

According to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), the Sept. 26 earthquake’s estimated magnitude was 5.8, and it took place at a depth of 6.99 kilometers, some 21.68 kilometers from the district of Silivri. The Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute assessed the earthquake at a magnitude of 5.7.