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5 Reasons of Why the Earthquakes in Turkey were Devastating

Posted on 28 February 2023
Updated On: 28 February 2023

After two earthquakes with a magnitude of 7.8 and 7.5 on the Richter scale, which occurred at 04:17 at night on February 6, 2023, and at 13:24, 9 hours later, in the city of Kahramanmaras, Turkey, a large number of lives were lost and injured. As of February 27, 2023, 45000 deaths have been reached so far. It was stated that 100,000 people survived the earthquake with injuries. Search and rescue operations continued under the rubble until the 13th day of the earthquake, but as of the 14th day, these works have ended.

 

10 cities of Turkey have been directly affected by the earthquakes and many people died in the collapsed buildings. Here are the 5 reasons why the earthquakes were so destructive:

 

1. The focus of the earthquake (the depth) was too close to the ground

In the first earthquake, the focus of the earthquake was about 8 km below the ground, and in the second earthquake, the focus of the earthquake was 7 km below the ground. According to the authorities, one of the biggest reasons for the increase in destructiveness is that the earthquakes occurred at a point very close to the earth.

2. Buildings that are old or not produced in accordance with the regulations

“Don’t fight nature, but adapt to it”. This is an old proverb that summarizes Turkey’s situation. Instead of facing the reality of earthquake risk in Turkey where is located upon many active fault lines and taking the necessary steps, the country seems they neglected taking the action. More than half of the buildings in the cities, had been built up before 1999 which is the year another big earthquake that happened in Golcuk near Istanbul and the year which the regulations had been changed. Researches proved that most of the buildings that were built before that year are not safe in an earthquake due to the inefficient regulations. Most of the collapsed buildings were these buildings.

The regulations have been changed in 2007 and 2018 once again with the rise of the high-tower buildings. Even though, the regulations are very strict and imposing tough sanctions, the contractors and some officials are breaking the rules in some cases to reduce the cost of the construction or to make illegal profit. Some collapsed buildings are this kind of buildings. Legal actions on the contractors and officials have been taken and so far 133 people have been arrested.

3. Liquified Soil

According to official reports, it was stated that the ground in these cities is consisted of alluvium and mud which is unsuitable for settlement and was on the fault. It has also been seen that the buildings were collapsed in an oblique position or fully collapsed by sinking into the ground due to the soil liquefaction effect.

4. Adverse Weather Conditions

On the first day of the earthquake was actually one of the coldest days of the season in the region. People who had been able to run away from their houses had to come back in after hours with the freezing temperatures and being caught to the second earthquake. During this period, people could not stand the bad weather with almost no clothes or long hours in the morning. Some people who had been under the rubbles have also experienced the freezing cold weather, suffering hypothermia and dying of it. Another unpleasant result of the adverse weather conditions is that the reach of the help was almost impossible due to the road traffic, closed roads due to snow and etc. The first 2-3 days of the earthquake was the harshest but the most important period of the disaster and unfortunately no or little help have been arrived due to the organizational disorder and the weather conditions.

 

5. Panic and Wrong Application of Things that should be performed during the Earthquake

Since Turkey is a country with the risk of facing an earthquake in almost all lands, the education system is including the earthquake drills each year as well as the lessons and trainings to teach the society how to protect themselves during an earthquake. Even though most of the citizens have attended the lessons or drills that occur many times during their lifespans, the panic have undermined all the learnings and practices during the earthquake. According to the rescue teams, most of the collapsed buildings had “Triangles of Life” next to the beds or couches but unfortunately only a few people have performed a proper protection next to these furniture. Many of the bodies have been discovered in the elevators or in the escalators where are the most dangerous places in an earthquake for people who are trying to escape the building with no success.

How will the earthquake affect the Real Estate Market in Turkey in 2023?

Even if an earthquake happens once in hundreds of years, when it happens it is vital to be prepared for it. The new buildings, proper construction projects will always pay themselves off in terms of safety. It has been shown once again that the old buildings are not safe enough in a disaster. Therefore, the demand for the new and regulated buildings will peak up. For a further discussion on how the earthquake will reflect on the Real Estate Market in Turkey, follow-up our news and subscribe now.

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