Some 1.5 million buildings urgently need renewal, minister says
Some 1.5 million buildings across the country urgently need renewal, the environment and urbanization minister said on Nov. 6.
Speaking to the reporters in disaster-hit İzmir, a western province which was struck by a 6.6-magnitude earthquake last week, Murat Kurum repeated the call he made after a seven-story building in Istanbul’s Kartal district collapsed and left 21 people dead in 2019, urging local authorities in 81 provinces to prepare an urban transformation plan.
He also said that residents whose buildings are less damaged and undamaged can enter their homes.
But he warned people to avoid entering severely damaged buildings.
A total of 231 buildings have been found to be severely damaged and destroyed, 1,834 slightly damaged and 251 moderately damaged, Kurum added.
Meanwhile, seven suspects involved in the construction of buildings that collapsed during the earthquake last week have been arrested.
Arrest warrants were issued for 11 suspects, including contractors and engineers, who were allegedly complicit in faulty construction of buildings that crumbled during a magnitude 6.6 earthquake in the Bayraklı district of İzmir province on Oct. 30.
Two suspects were released on bail.
One contractor, identified by the initials M.B.U., who had been issued an arrest warrant in relation to the collapse of one such apartment building, got injured in the quake and has been under intensive care.
M.B.U.’s father, who had lost his daughter-in-law and grandchildren in the earthquake, was also released with an international travel ban.
The arrested suspects argued that the buildings were built under regulations at the time of construction.
A market owner who allegedly cut the column of a demolished building to make more use of the shop on the ground floor has denied allegations against him during his interrogation.
He said that he rented the relevant shop in 2002, he has over 100 real estates, and that he would not deal with such a thing.
Another contractor of the destroyed Yağcıoğlu Apartment, identified only by the initials Ş.A., also made a statement to the journalists when he was taken to the court.
“We have no fault. Those who shifted the columns were responsible,” he said.
Expert teams investigating the reason for the collapse of buildings are continuing to examine the foundations of the buildings in detail.
While some of the buildings that collapsed in the disaster were reinforced against temblors, the majority were built in the 1990s before regulations requiring sturdier construction against earthquakes came into effect.
Some 36 victims are still receiving treatment, while 1,000 have been discharged from hospitals.
The death toll stands at 114, according to Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.
The treatment of 14 cats rescued from the debris in the earthquake in İzmir continues, according to a statement made by İzmir Municipality.
The cats that were rescued days after the earthquake were brought to an animal polyclinic after being removed from the wreckage.
Veterinarian Cihan Ziyan stated that the condition of most of the cats is improving and they do not have orthopedic problems.
Meanwhile, a judicial control measure was imposed on a woman, who made a provocative post about the İzmir earthquake, to receive training on disaster awareness.
There have been 2,124 aftershocks, 46 being with a magnitude larger than 4.0, according to the nation’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD).
Turkey is among the world’s most seismically active zones and has suffered devastating earthquakes, including a magnitude 7.6 Marmara quake in 1999.