Mayor İmamoğlu says cost of making risky buildings safe for quakes in Istanbul exceeds 360 bln liras

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has said that 90,000 buildings have a risk of entirely collapsing in the megacity and that the cost of making them earthquake-resistant can exceed 360 billion liras. “I will not allow this (quake) tragedy to happen in Istanbul,” İmamoğlu noted.

Photo: Anka News Agency

Duvar English

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu on Feb. 25 said that the cost of reinforcing severely damaged buildings in Istanbul can exceed 360 billion liras.

“We are talking about 90,000 severely damaged buildings (i.e. have a risk of collapsing). It is possible to encounter more. The cost of making these buildings safe can exceed 360 billion liras. This is almost three times the annual budget of our metropolitan municipality,” İmamoğlu said while speaking in a meeting with scientists on earthquake preparation in the megacity.

“I want to make a call to our government, let's fight together to relieve the cities,” İmamoğlu added.

İmamoğlu said the municipal teams visited 107,000 buildings in the past three years to check their earthquake safety, but residents in only 29,000 buildings allowed them to examine.

“After the Maraş earthquake (on Feb. 6), the number of our citizens who applied to us reached 100,000 in just a few days (to check their buildings’ safety). We cannot afford to take this concern lightly. Our citizens are right to be worried,” İmamoğlu said.

“We lost a lot in a disaster and chaos environment where necessary precautions were not taken before and quick action was not taken afterwards (after Feb. 6 quakes). No citizen who sees this scene can continue their life as if nothing happened,” he added.

İmamoğlu also noted he will share the municipality’s roadmap for earthquake preparation. 

“I went to the earthquake zone frequently. We will keep going. What I saw deeply affected me. I will not allow this tragedy to happen in Istanbul at any cost. I declare this again in the presence of all of you and I promise,” he added.

Experts have been waiting for a major earthquake with a magnitude above 7 to hit Istanbul in the near future. The long-awaited earthquake is expected to create massive material devastation in the city, and experts often note that the construction in the metropolis is unlikely to be prepared for the quake.