Urban planning failure behind major damage, expert says

Urban planning failure behind major damage, expert says

Alperen Karaköse - ANKARA
Urban planning failure behind major damage, expert says

The deadly earthquakes that jolted the Türkiye’s south were much more destructive than the tremors of similar magnitude in other countries as the settlements were established in the wrong places of the region, a quake expert has said.

“The satellite images reveal that the quakes have not damaged the houses in the areas located even a little near to the fault lines, or in the hilly areas,” Cenk Yaltırak, a professor from Istanbul Technical University’s (İTÜ) Geology Deparment, told Hürriyet Daily News, pointing out that the settlement areas in the region were chosen incorrectly.

Recalling the 2016 earthquake in New Zealand’s Kaikoura town with a magnitude of 7.8 that killed two people and left 57 others injured, Yaltırak said, “The earthquakes on Feb. 6 were not unprecedented in magnitude.”

Stating that he examined the fault ruptures in Hatay’s Kırıkhan district after the earthquakes, Yaltırak said there are many factors behind the destruction, from high-rise buildings to their spread over the land, and criticized the granting of construction permits to areas that do not meet the requirements.

The reconstruction in the region should not be done in the same way, he warned, informing that the possibility of an earthquake of similar magnitude continues in the extension of the same fault in Syria.

The expert also argued that the population of Istanbul should be limited to 10 million as a precaution against the expected earthquake in Marmara.

“Industrialists and factories in the region should no longer be given incentives and tax exemptions,” Yaltırak said. “Entrepreneurs from Anatolia should develop their own cities.”

The megacity with 15.9 million residents that last suffered heavy damage from earthquakes in 1999 is on edge, according to the repeated warnings by experts about the expected quake with a magnitude of 7.0 or higher.

TURKEY, alperen karaköse, urban planning,