Former crisis center in Van hit by quake
Serkan Ocak - VAN / Radikal
Former disaster center, which was built in the early 80’s in Van is now unusable. Radikal photo
A police building that was originally constructed as a disaster center in the early 1980s was rendered unusable during the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck Van on Oct. 23, raising new questions about building codes in active seismic zones.
Initially built to serve as the Van Disaster Directorate of the now defunct Public Works Ministry, the structure was then reassigned for use by riot police several years later. Following last month’s tremor in the eastern province, however, the building’s walls crumbled and fell outward, while its columns have been broken into a number of parts, according to reports.
A law enforcement officer was injured during the quake that ravaged the building. Another public structure that sits several kilometers away from the police building is the Şehit Koray Akoğuz High School, which was also rendered unusable by the quake. The high school was constructed in 1976 for use by the Construction Affairs Regional Directorate of the former Public Works Ministry. The building was then remodeled and opened as a school in 1984.
The lives of many students and teachers were spared from the Oct. 23 disaster because school was not in session at the time.
Thirty-one buildings collapsed entirely in Van following successive quakes and aftershocks, while hundreds more structures have been rendered useless.