Turkey Van Earthquake 7.2


Van quake reminds of violations report

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oct. 23’s deadly earthquake in Van has again drawn attention to violations of Turkey’s construction regulations just a year after a parliamentary commission released a report on the serious shortcomings in Turkey’s preparedness for a major disaster.

The report, which also issued a set of recommendations to government agencies, identified Turkey’s biggest problem as unlicensed structures that officials are unable to police due to “legal and technical” reasons.

The document also emphasized poor coordination following earthquakes and urged various institutions to improve their coordination plans.

Inspecting completed buildings is not enough, the report said, suggesting that supervision must begin at the project phase and continue through the planning and construction phases, with additional inspection of how the building is used. The report even suggested special units to be set up to inspect and prevent shoddy construction.

The report underlined that up to 70 percent of Istanbul’s buildings were built without a construction license, adding that it was “technically and legally impossible to reinforce these buildings” to prepare against future earthquakes. In addition, it stated that work on only 123 of the 326 bridges and viaducts slated for reinforcement from 2005 to 2010 had been completed.

The report also suggested revisions to the Building Inspection and Natural Disaster Laws, while urging local and central authorities to improve earthquake preparedness.

The first parliamentary earthquake commission was established following the Aug. 17, 1999, Marmara earthquake that killed 17,000 people in northwestern Turkey. The commission was tasked with preparing a second report in 2010 to examine how much progress Turkey had achieved in a decade in improving its earthquake preparedness.

Monday, October 24,

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