Report warns of possible quake as Turkey marks 1999 disaster
The victims of the 1999 Marmara earthquake, the most devastating earthquake in the history of modern Turkey, were remembered on Aug. 17, as concerns over a potential disaster of a similar magnitude that is expected to hit Turkey continue to mount.
Crowds, as they have every year, gathered in front of the Earthquake Monument in the town of Gölcük, the epicenter of the quake, in the northwestern province of Kocaeli at 3:02 a.m., the exact moment when the 7.4-magnitude quake struck the region.
Speaking at the ceremony, Parliament Deputy Speaker Haydar Akar stated that the commemoration events could be spread across the country to create awareness and an earthquake center could be created under the leadership of Gölcük.
Meanwhile, 22 years after the worst seismic disaster in the country’s recent history that killed around 18,000 people and wounded 50,000, a new report reveals that at least half a million buildings could be damaged as a result of an earthquake of magnitude-7.5 that is expected to occur in Istanbul.
According to a report by the Urban Transformation Foundation (Kentsev), there are 1.16 million buildings, and 4.5 million apartments in the metropolis, and 3.3 people live in all the apartments combined.
A magnitude 7.5 or higher powerful earthquake would damage an estimated 491,000 buildings in the city, said the report, predicting that nearly 40,000 buildings in the metropolis will be severely or heavily damaged.
Considering that there is an average of 3.8 apartments in a building, the reports estimate that the total number of houses that would be damaged as a result of a severe earthquake will be 1.8 million and the number of people affected will be 6.1 million.
Fatih, a walled district comprising the historic Istanbul peninsula, leads with 2,083 buildings in the districts where buildings are expected to be heavily damaged in the possible 7.5-magnitude earthquake.
Fatih is followed by the most densely populated districts of the city such as Küçükçekmece, Bağcılar and Bahçelievler.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Kentsev chair Haluk Sur said the figures in question are frightening and reveal the necessity of urban transformation in the metropolis, which has a population of over 15 million.
“Especially the buildings that are expected to suffer severe damage should be evacuated immediately before facing the reality of the earthquake and action should be taken to transform these buildings,” Sur said.
Noting that resident should benefit from the incentives and supports for transformation, Sur demanded that municipalities and other relevant public institutions also take initiatives.