Rubble from hundreds of buildings in quake-zone dumped in landfill without sampling

After major quakes destroyed Turkey's southeastern Adıyaman, excavation and rubble removal operations in the city have been continuing without any systemic organization. Despite the warnings against the spread of asbestos, trucks have been dumping the rubble into the landfills near the city’s industrial zone and 1.5 km away from the Atatürk Dam.

Ardıl Batmaz / Gazete Duvar 

Turkey's southeastern Adyaman has been undergoing unorganized excavation and rubble clearance operations after severe earthquakes damaged the city on Feb. 6. Trucks have been dumping the rubble into landfills within 1.5 kilometers of the Atatürk Dam and close to the city's industrial zone despite the warnings against the spread of asbestos.

A construction site executive of a private company that came from Diyarbakır with 30 vehicles and participated in search and rescue and rubble removal operations in the city said, "We don't do any sorting, we just dump the rubble. No one is after taking samples from the destroyed buildings. The trucks unload the rubble and leave."

The company official stated that 90 percent of the buildings in Adıyaman were damaged and no official arrived in the city for four days. "Maybe if they had intervened on time, more people would have been rescued alive. When we came here, we randomly lowered the machine wherever there was a collapsed building and started the rescue operations; there was no professional in charge of us," he added. 

Criticizing the lack of a professional at the search and rescue operations, the executive said, "I was describing the work to the mechanics in front of the rubble. The government officials did nothing.” 

The company official said that the valuables found during the rubble dumping were handed directly to the authorities.

Ten provinces in southeastern Turkey were hit by two major earthquakes on Feb. 6. Millions of people have been affected by the destruction and thousands of buildings have been partially damaged or completely destroyed. 

After search and rescue operations ceased last week, rubble removal and rebuilding processes have started in the region. Nonetheless, the experts warn that it is too early to commence such operations without extensive planning.

(English version by Can Bodrumlu)