Nearly 300,000 buildings in quake-prone Istanbul over 40 years old, report says
Turkey’s most populated province of Istanbul, which faces an imminent threat of being hit by a magnitude 7 or higher powerful earthquake, is home to 260,000 buildings that were constructed before 1980, a report has said.
According to a report by the Urban Transformation Foundation (Kentsev), there are 1.1 million buildings, and 4.5 million apartments in the metropolis, and 3.3 people live in all the apartments combined.
“Some 22.6 percent of these 1.1 million buildings were constructed before 1980. The exact number is 262,665. This makes 1 million apartments,” said the report published on Feb. 24.
The historic district of Fatih, whose foundation dates back to the Byzantine era, has most of the buildings among the 39 districts of the megacity that are older than 40 years of age, it added.
With nearly 32,000 structures that date back to 1980, Fatih leads the list. Beyoğlu, with some 17,000 buildings, and Beykoz, with nearly 16,000 structures, follow the lead.
The district of Beylikdüzü, a relatively newer district, is at the bottom of the list with only 41 buildings constructed before 1980. Arnavutköy is second last on the list with only 96 old structures.
Districts with fewer than 1,000 old buildings are Sultanbeyli, Sancaktepe, Esenyurt and Başakşehir.
“Some 3 million residents live in these old buildings,” Haluk Sur, the head of Kentsev, told state-run Anadolu Agency.
“The youngest of these old buildings are a little more than 40 years old. Some are 50 or 60 years old.”
Sur stressed on the need for urban renewal. “In the last eight years, some 500,000 buildings were demolished and re-constructed. We have around 300,000 apartments in urgent need for urban transformation,”
He urged that people living in these old buildings, which are highly likely to receive significant damage in the event of a strong earthquake, should be evacuated “as soon as possible.”
Experts say there is a 95 percent chance that an earthquake of magnitude 7 or stronger will strike Istanbul within the next 70 years.
An earthquake of that strength would heavily damage or destroy an estimated 194,000 buildings, according to the latest version of Istanbul’s Earthquake Master Plan, published in 2018.
In an interview with Reuters on Dec. 8, 2020, Haluk Eyidoğan, a geophysics engineer, predicted that “such tremor would leave more than 10 percent of Istanbul’s 15 million residents homeless.”
Top 15 districts with the highest number of buildings older than 40 years