Negligence in constructions magnified destruction, experts say

Negligence in constructions magnified destruction, experts say

Gülistan Alagöz - KAHRAMANARAŞ
Negligence in constructions magnified destruction, experts say

The impact of the deadly earthquakes that hit the country’s south could have been less if the necessary inspections and preparations had been made, experts have warned, urging the authorities to take precautions in other areas where quakes are expected.

“We experienced a huge disaster that affected 12-15 million people, but if we had made the necessary preparations, the destruction might not have been this big,” said Taner Yüzgeç, the head of the Chamber of Civil Engineers, stressing that there had been deficiencies in the planning and construction processes of the buildings.

“If a building survives and the next one is destroyed, it cannot be called destiny,” Yüzgeç added. “Construction processes have been contractor and profit-oriented, however, safety and public health should be prioritized.”

Quoting authorities as saying there are 6-6.5 million risky structures across the country, he said, “We do not know where and in what condition they are.”

The earthquake regulation and building inspection law passed in 1999 after the tremor centered in the northwestern province of Kocaeli’s Gölcük district that killed over 17,000 people became a milestone in the country, Yavuz Işık, the head of the Turkish Ready Mixed Concrete Association (THBB), also said.

Accordingly, 90-95 percent of the destroyed buildings in the quake were those built before 2000 as necessary revisions were made after the regulation, he added.

The demolished new buildings, on the other hand, show that there may be a problem with the ground, the material may be faulty, or the project implementation was incomplete, Işık pointed out.

The expert also noted that a housing quality inventory for the country should be created as soon as possible.

“There are 70,000-80,000 coffin buildings in Istanbul, which is a miracle even to be standing. These houses must be evacuated and renovated,” he urged the authorities.

Paying an inspection visit to the quake region in Diyarbakır, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said, “An investigation has been launched regarding the destroyed buildings. Those responsible will be held accountable before the law.”

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