Quake-stricken Van to be rebuilt on solid ground

Quake-stricken Van to be rebuilt on solid ground

VAN - Hürriyet Daily News
Quake-stricken Van to be rebuilt on solid ground

The new city will be built at the foot of Mt. Erek, the village of Kevenli and other locations where the ground is solid and rocky, according to the Ministry’s plan. AA photo

Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar has announced plans to relocate the eastern province of Van, which was struck by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake on Oct. 23, at the foot of Mt. Erek .

“We’re rolling up our sleeves to establish an ultra-modern Van. There will be an incredible verve in Van province when spring comes; employment opportunities will be created. Those forced to evacuate the city of Van will return with the developing opportunities,” Bayraktar said yesterday at a press meeting he hosted with Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay and Labor and Social Security Minister Faruk Çelik.

The 7.2 earthquake had killed over 600 and left thousands homeless. The new city will be built at the foot of Mt. Erek, the village of Kevenli and other locations where the ground is solid and rocky, Bayraktar said, adding that such public buildings as courts, administrative offices and hospitals would be constructed in the city center. Public buildings that serve more technical purposes, however, would be concentrated outside the downtown area, he added.

“Construction on a 41-kilometer-long highway starting in central Van that takes in Edremit and ends north of the Kalecik area is underway. We are working to establish a new Van around the highway,” he said.

“We surveyed [a large parcel of] land and almost all of this is public land owned by the treasury. If there are any barren or pasture lands among these, then we are going to do whatever is needed [to use it to build the new Van], by legislating if necessary,” he said.

Buildings in the new city’s residential areas would be no taller than four stories at most, in accordance with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s directives, he said.

Meanwhile, city planners and architects said such a plan should be carefully constructed.

“We don’t exactly know how many buildings in the city are damaged and to what extent,” said Şehabettin Öztürk of the Van Chamber of Architects.

“The area is right because it

has a rocky base. However, we need to plan very carefully how the

whole city will be moved there,” Öztürk said.

Orhan Sarıaltun, the Ankara chief of the Turkish Union of Engineers’ and Architects’ Chambers’ (TMMOB) City Planning Department, said he agreed.

Rather than moving the whole city, it is better to construct buildings in the city better, Sarıaltun told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Istanbul’s districts fail

Out of the 39 districts in the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, only 13 are ready for a possible earthquake, daily Radikal has reported.

According to the report, even the most prepared municipalities have problems in publicizing necessary information as there is often no indication of designated assembly areas in the wake of a quake.

The press and public relations departments of 16 municipalities did not provide any information to the paper’s questions regarding their earthquake preparations while five municipalities said they were underprepared for the quake.

 Five others said they were ready to respond in the event of an emergency but were not able to give more information.

According to media reports, several parks that were made on landfills in the districts of Zeytinburnu and Bakırköy will be used as assembly points, although the strength of such sites during an earthquake is also questionable, the newspaper wrote.