Damaged buildings left untouched 24 years after Marmara quake

Damaged buildings left untouched 24 years after Marmara quake

Damaged buildings left untouched 24 years after Marmara quake

While almost 24 years have passed following the 1999 Marmara earthquake, repair and retrofitting of 1,359 moderately damaged buildings in Istanbul have not been carried out until 2021.

Following the Kahramanmaraş-centered earthquakes that claimed thousands of lives, while new measures are being taken for the possible Istanbul earthquake, the negligence in the past continues to come to light.

The situation of these buildings came to the agenda in 2020. It was learned that the buildings should have been retrofitted within three months, while demolition should have been initiated afterward, but the given time period was extended by three months due to the pandemic.

After the works carried out with the district municipalities regarding 1,359 buildings with moderate damage, it was understood that 548 of them were demolished, 70 of them were retrofitted and many buildings’ procedures were still ongoing.

Urban planner Erhan Demirdizen pointed out that these delays are due to the building owners’ concerns regarding financial loss and stated that the urban transformation loan support provided by the municipality is an important step, as it will accelerate the retrofitting processes.

Eyüp Muhçu, president of the Chamber of Architects, stated that since 1999, many areas that should not be zoned were opened for construction. In the Istanbul earthquake plan, most studies on the buildings that need to be demolished urgently and the areas that need to be cleared of construction were never carried out.

According to Istanbul Municipality’s data, 45,534 buildings are expected to get heavily damaged and 25,380 buildings to get severely damaged in the city in the much-anticipated 7.5 magnitude earthquake predicted to occur in the Marmara Sea.