An earthquake in Istanbul would damage 20% of its buildings

A earthquake in Istanbul would cause serious or very serious damage to 20% of city buildings, according to a report prepared by the metropolitan city council of the city – which was presented last week before the Turkish parliament – in which the “catastrophic” damage that would cause a future great earthquake of intensity greater than 7 degrees.

The report was prepared jointly by the local councils of the distritos de Avcılar y Esenler, both located on the outskirts of the European side of Istanbul, and was presented on February 18 before the parliamentary commission that studies the measures to be carried out in Turkey against earthquakes: it reveals an unflattering panorama in which some 200,000 buildings would be damaged medium or high level, affecting some 3 million inhabitants.

Istanbul’s population is officially nearly 16 million, making it the largest city in Turkey and one of the most populous in Europe; however Turkey is a very seismically active, and for years experts have been warning that the Bosphorus metropolis must prepare for a major earthquake higher than 7 degrees: It is not a question of if it will happen, but of when.

The problem in districts like Esenler is that most of their buildings were built during the time of the great migration from the countryside to the cities Turkey lived in the 70s and 80s, in which many buildings were hastily erected to accommodate the growing population without proper planning and without adequate structural studies.

A major earthquake in Istanbul would demolish 48,000 buildings

In Esenler, the average age of the district’s buildings is high, 33 years, and most of the buildings were made before the Great Marmara Earthquake 1999 will force to harden the anti earthquake legislation. The report points out that the situation is not better in districts like Avcılar or in the neighbor Silivri, where the number of buildings with structural problems serious has been multiplied by 4 and by 2, respectively.

In statements to the media made by Tayfun Kahraman, a member of the municipal department of urban transformation, he warned that a possible earthquake of great intensity would leave too much damage and therefore useless to be inhabited at least 20% of the 1.16 million buildings registered in Istanbul, adding that many of them they would collapse by the shaking.

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According to Kahraman, the future “Big One” in Istanbul it would seriously damage or collapse 48,000 buildings throughout the city, and it would also damage the infrastructure of gas and water supply. “The earthquake would generate economic losses of approximately 120,000 million lire (14,000 million euros), a figure that would increase because this earthquake will affect the entire Turkish economy. I am confident that we will avoid a situation like this in Istanbul, ”he said.

In addition to warning of the risk of serious damage to buildings in Istanbul, the report recommends improve infrastructure and the city’s transportation networks, including highways, bridges, and viaducts; also suggests creating an inventory of water reserves of the city and a plan for its distribution in case of catastrophe. The city council is already working on a plan to create temporary shelters associated with these water reserves.

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