Half of buildings inspected by Istanbul municipality under risk of collapse

A top official of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has said that 29,000 buildings have been so far inspected as part of a free scan program and that half of them are under high risk of collapse in case of a major earthquake. Meanwhile, Professor Celal Şengör said that he estimates the death toll to reach 100,000 in the expected Istanbul earthquake. 

Duvar English

The head of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s (İBB) Earthquake Risk Management and Urban Improvement Department, Özlem Tut, has said that they have so far inspected 29,000 buildings and half of them are at risk of being collapsed in case of a major earthquake.

Tut told CNN International on March 17 that 318 of these buildings can even demolish on their own, without even an earthquake, due to the state of condition they are in, according to reporting by online news outlet Diken.

İBB deputy secretary general Buğra Gökçe had similarly said one month ago that 318 buildings “might collapse without any earthquake damage.”

Over more than three years, as part of a rapid-scanning program, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has been inspecting buildings built before 2000 to see if they can resist a possible major quake. After the Feb. 6 earthquakes, the municipality opened the program to the application of residents as many people worry about the safety of their buildings.

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu had on March 12 announced that the number of applications to the municipality for these building evaluations has exceeded 140,000.

Meanwhile, Professor Celal Şengör, one of Turkey’s foremost geoscientists, told CNN International that he estimates the death toll to reach 100,000 in the expected Istanbul earthquake. 

“We can foretell that an earthquake of that magnitude will happen soon, but that is the best we can do. There is no way you can predict it,” Şengör said. 

“My estimate (for the death toll) is about 100,000. It’s going to be havoc,” he said. “You can’t just think about the direct impact of the shaking, you must also think about what will follow the shaking. There will be looting, fires, epidemics. It’s going to be terrible.”

Experts estimate that an earthquake across the North Anatolian fault could reach a magnitude of above 7, with devastating consequences for Istanbul. The timing of such a quake, however, is impossible to predict.