Turkey To Seismic-Proof All Of The Country’s 20 Million Homes
August 10, 2012
Istanbul’s population has grown to 16 million. Image: skyscrapercity user manon
In 1999, an earthquake struck the Turkish cities of İzmit, Adapazarı, and Yalova, killing 17,000 people in collapsed buildings. In 2011, an earthquake struck the city of Erciş, killing 600, again in their collapsed apartments. In order to prevent more fatalities in future earthquakes, the government of Turkey has proposed a new law that would make all of the country’s residential buildings earthquake-proof in twenty years, just in time for the 100th anniversary of Turkish independence in 2023.
The law would have seismic inspectors going door to door for the next two years testing the soundness of Turkey’s 20 million residential structures. Officials estimate that perhaps up to 6.5 million of these would have to be demolished or modified, and their residents relocated. While this law will disrupt the daily lives of millions of people, it is tremendously necessary. Scientists believe that Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, is long overdue for a major seismic event, one that could put hundreds of thousands of its 16 million residents in danger of losing their lives. The effort will pay special attention to the massive illegal settlements which sprawl on the edges of Turkey’s cities, often built with whatever materials are at hand, as well as the millions of structures built in defiance of building codes. Because of this law, Turkey’s cities and buildings will change tremendously, hopefully for the better.
Aftermath of the 1999 Izmit earthquake. Image: Carnegie Science Center
Aftermath of the 2011 Ercis earthquake. Image: Huffington Post