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Feb 5, 2023

Earthquakes and Buildings Protection From their Dangers

Turkey is one of the areas prone to earthquakes, especially Istanbul, which is located near the North Anatolian Fault, which is an obsession for some who are looking to buy real estate for the purpose of residence or investment. What can be said in this regard.. Are the current buildings equipped against earthquakes, and does disaster management work with the required efficiency and effectiveness?

 Earthquake concept and its damages:

An earthquake or earthquake (Türkçe: deprem, zelzele; Eng.: earthquake) is a sudden shaking of the earth caused by the passage of seismic waves through the rocks of the earth, which in turn arise from the release of energy stored in the earth's crust, and the tense masses slip and collapse.

The area over which the Earth's crust moves is known as a fault (Türkçe: fay; Eng.: fault). One of the most famous faults in the Earth's crust is the North Anatolian Fault, which is 1,200 km long and 100 km wide.

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Earthquakes cause damage, the most important of which are: causing the ground level to subside, causing the destruction of buildings and roads…; Fires caused by the destruction of electricity and gas facilities; The release of groundwater to the earth layer above it and its liquefaction, which causes the fluidity of the soil and weakening the bearing strength of the structures and bridges based on it... Earthquake damage varies according to the intensity of the earthquake, which is measured in degrees on the Richter scale, the duration of the earthquakes and their proximity to the surface of the earth and the location of the facilities in relation to the seismic movement line...

 Istanbul and its experience with earthquakes:

Turkey is an earthquake-prone region, especially Istanbul, as it is located near the North Anatolian Fault. The last devastating earthquake that hit Istanbul was the Izmit earthquake in 1999, which occurred near the city of Izmit, 104 km from Istanbul, with a magnitude of 6¸7 on the Richter scale. It turned the city of Izmit into a disaster area with a large number of victims, dead and wounded. They were displaced and severely damaged, while the destruction in Istanbul was confined to the Avcılar area, west of the city, which is an area built on relatively weak land. The most recent of these is the earthquake that occurred on 26.9.2019, which measured 5.8 on the Richter scale. This earthquake did not cause any significant damage.

Buildings not immune to earthquakes:

The buildings most exposed to the dangers of earthquakes are: those based on thin columns (pillars) and on unstable foundations, especially if they are not based on rocks, and they were originally old buildings built in conditions and conditions that are not ideal or that are subject to the Housing Law 2946 issued in 1983.

Earthquake-resistant buildings:

It is based on:

-Well-reinforced and thick concrete columns that resist earthquakes well, and the increase in the number of columns and their approach to each other strengthen the buildings.

-Well-reinforced bridges to significantly strengthen the buildings and their steadfastness.

-Rock-based foundations Buildings gain great resistance because they are not then subject to slips that can occur under non-rock foundations, nor to liquefactions that can be caused by large water leaks and fine soil particles. The regular shape of the buildings, the consistency of their masses, and the lack of increased door and window areas have an important role in increasing their resistance to earthquakes.

-Follow professional structural designs aimed at resisting buildings to earthquakes, such as isolating buildings from the foundations with metal springs and rubber baffles to absorb seismic waves, or diverting the path of seismic waves from buildings with a giant plastic cement ring-shaped barrier buried around tall buildings.

The government's taking important measures contributed to the protection of buildings, citizens and residents through:

- Modifying the engineering designs of property in Turkey after the 1999 earthquake so that the earthquake resistance of buildings was significantly raised, taking into account the earthquake map in the region.

-Setting standards for the risks facing buildings, the most important of which are: determining whether the building was built before 1999 or after this year, whether it was built with or without a license, the extent of the resistance of its concrete, whether there are cracks in its columns and bridges or not, and whether there is rust in the iron of its columns Or dampness in his basement or not...

- The establishment of the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority “AFAD” in 2009, which manages crises and risks before, during, far and after their occurrence, and also supervises the work of relevant civil society organizations such as the Turkish Red Crescent, and in a remarkable experience for the management of disasters and emergencies in Turkey, the Department made use of the robot “Bob” He placed it in the back of the ship “Soroa” of the French Institute for the Exploration of the Sea, and lowered it to a depth of 1200 meters under water off the threatening coast of Istanbul with the aim of monitoring the methane gas leaking from the sea floor corps in order to study seismic activity and try to predict earthquakes.

-A new law for the prevention of natural disasters was enacted, taking into account a large number of minute details that increase the safety of buildings during an earthquake or disaster, as the law provides for conducting studies regarding the strength of building foundations to withstand shocks and shocks, and regarding the suitability and design of doors and windows so that risks are reduced to the life of the occupants of the building during the earthquake, and the law requires compliance with standards that prevent the walls from cracking and disintegrating.

The rate of insured housing units in Turkey has so far reached 54.7%, ie 10,949,000 out of 20,032,000 housing units, according to Dunya newspaper. Thus, Turkey is moving fast in the way of completing the insurance of buildings, and this is an evidence that all apartments and shops must be insured before selling or renting them, as well as not opening electricity, water and natural gas subscriptions until after insurance is done on the property against earthquakes and disasters. The earthquake insurance system in Turkey includes: foundations, ceilings, walls, floors, roofs and elevators.

-Implementation of the urban transformation plan that includes 7 million buildings: through the renewal of old buildings by the government and its subsidiaries, and the construction of 300,000 housing units annually in cooperation with the private sector.

There is no doubt that all of the above would increase the resilience of buildings and infrastructure and the effectiveness of the disaster and emergency management system, but are there places in Istanbul that are safer in its location than other places. Answer: To some extent yes.

In general, the areas located north of the E5 highway, are classified as safer than those located to the south of the mentioned road and close to the Sea of ​​Marmara. Therefore, areas like Avcilar and Bakirkoy are not preferred. As well as the Al-Fateh area due to its location near a seismic fault, and the age of its buildings, as Al-Fateh is considered the second oldest area in the city. While areas such as: Besiktas, Sisli, Eyup, Gaziosmanpasha, Basaksehir, Bahcesehir and Esenyurt are considered safer, they are preceded in terms of safety by the areas located in the north of the city, such as the Arnavutkoy area in which Istanbul's new airport is located, and the safest area is located in the far northwest of the city .

What about investors?

The highest degree of safety and the lowest degree of risk is the ambition of every investor. For this reason, the successful investor must ask the management of the investment project wishing to contract with him all documents that prove the readiness and immunity of the project from earthquakes and disasters. The investor should also realize that owning the real estate according to Turkish law directly gives him a share of the land.

Finally, it is worth emphasizing that the real estate sector in Istanbul and in Turkey in general enjoys at the present time very good safety benefits that are secured by strict legal measures that ensure their application by state institutions and help achieve peace and public safety for citizens and residents, although it should be said that the preparedness against disasters has not yet reached To the degree of perfection or idealism, as recognized by the government and the various political parties in Turkey, which makes care and knowledge of what to do during the earthquake, a duty of the residents and residents. However, many may wonder: What is the probability of a devastating earthquake that the Turkish state has not witnessed for about a quarter of a century during my short stay in Turkey, and I was originally living in a modern earthquake-resistant building?

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