Residents unwilling to vacate their homes even under risk of collapse: Report
A report by the Istanbul Statistics Office released on Nov. 14 reveals that almost a quarter of Istanbul residents are not willing to leave their homes even if the buildings they live in have been issued earthquake hazard reports, which indicate the structures are susceptible to collapse in the event of a strong earthquake.
Some 769 people were interviewed by phone between Nov. 5 and 7 for the survey made by the office, which is run under Istanbul Municipality.
The report, which comes on the heels of the Oct. 30 earthquake that jolted the western province of İzmir with a 6.6 magnitude, highlights the city’s exposure to a possible bigger one as predicted by the experts.
The report shows that almost half of the city’s residents’ homes were built before the 1999 Marmara earthquake, which lasted 45 seconds with a 7.4 magnitude, killing 18,373 and injuring 23,781 people.
The report revealed that 55.6 percent of the people belonging to the age group 18-40 stated that they knew what to do during an earthquake, while this rate was 50.9 for the participants aged 40 and above.
More than 40 percent of the participants stated that they were unaware of the “Triangle of Life” concept, which explains how to survive beneath the debris resulting from a major earthquake.
Around 72 percent of the participants stated that they did not have an emergency kit for earthquakes, and some 52 percent of the residents said they did not know of any earthquake gatherings nearby.
Speaking of the possible outcomes on the building that they live in, some 22 percent of the participants said they think their building would be demolished, while 64 percent noted their building could suffer moderate or slightly higher damage in case of an earthquake with a magnitude 7.0, according to the report.
Some 13.5 percent of the interviewed believed that there would be no damage to the building they live in.
When the residents were asked about what they would do if in case the reports suggest their building to be under a serious threat of collapsing during an earthquake, about 62.5 percent of the participants answered that they would move to a safer house.
But more than 22 percent of the participants stated that they would not leave their homes and would continue to live in the same building.
Around 80 percent of the participants, who stated that they would stay in the same building, noted that the main reason was their financial insufficiency.
According to many experts, it is only a matter of time when an earthquake of a large magnitude will hit Istanbul, which has a population of more than 16 million people.
A succession of earthquakes has rocked both western and eastern Turkey recently, where Istanbul also witnessed a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Sept. 2019.
In case of a 7.5 magnitude earthquake that could hit Istanbul, more than 100,000 buildings are expected to face medium and heavy damage, according to a different report conducted by the same office.