ISTANBUL – The bad state of many buildings in Turkey results in more deaths than necessary after yesterday’s earthquake. Really solving the problem would mean pulling down and renewing parts of cities. Also the education on how the behave during and after an earthquake, is often not sufficient.
In many Turkish cities and villages people live in appartment blocks of at least three, and often more, storeys. More than eighty of those have collapsed in the most effected cities, Van and Ercis. On a weekday even more victims could have fallen: also many offices, public buildings and schools are not earthquake proof. Also hospitals aren’t always, as appeared yesterday after the disaster: at least one hospital was evacuated because it was too much damaged.
In small villages houses are sometimes build of wood, or unprofessionaly with stones.
Especially older buildings are constructed badly and not prepared to withstand an earthquake. Construction workers just didn’t care about regulations. That is chaging the last couple of years, especially since the huge earthquake that hit West Turkey in 1999. New appartment buildings are in general earthquake resistent. Such residential complexes, often built on government initiative, are usually built on the outskirts of cities, also in Van, a growing city.
The education on how to behave during earth quakes is not always sufficient. There are still people who panic and jump out of a window when the earth starts trembling. If also in this earthquake people died like that, is not clear.