Türkiye’s deadly quake renews alarm for Istanbul

Türkiye’s deadly quake renews alarm for Istanbul

Türkiye’s deadly quake renews alarm for Istanbul

The major earthquakes that killed tens of thousands across Türkiye’s south has reignited fears of an even more catastrophic death toll if a long-feared one hits Istanbul.

Seismologists warn that a massive earthquake is likely to strike Türkiye’s biggest city, officially home to 16 million people but estimated to hold up to 20 million, by 2030.

The city lies on the northern edge of one of Türkiye’s main fault lines and is densely packed.

A 7.6-magnitude earthquake with an epicentre on the city’s eastern outskirts killed more than 17,000 people in 1999. The number of Istanbulites has roughly doubled since then.

Independent urban scholar Murat Güney said carnage can be avoided if the government has the political will to relocate people from shoddy buildings filling the city’s shanty towns.

Güney said Istanbul had an ample supply of vacant properties just recently constructed and strong enough to withstand
major jolts.

Procrastination could spell doom, he said.

“A major earthquake of up to 7.5 magnitude is expected in Istanbul. Such an earthquake may cause the death of hundreds of thousands of residents while estimates about the number of buildings that will totally collapse or be severely damaged range from 50,000 to 200,000,” Güney told AFP.

“Those high-risk buildings, which are mostly squatter style and not resistant to earthquakes needed immediate transformation before they collapse even following a minor earthquake.”