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Türkiye preparing for Istanbul earthquake – minister — RT World News

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More than 50,000 people died in February’s earthquake, which also affected neighboring Syria

An urban transformation unit is to be established in Türkiye with a view to safeguarding the country’s most populous city from earthquakes, Minister of the Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change Mehmet Ozhaseki has announced.

Some 350,000 new homes will be built in Istanbul under the plan, Ozhaseki told broadcaster TRT Haber this week. A grant system will also be introduced, through which people can apply for funding to “transform” and earthquake-proof their properties.

“We will set up a special unit for Istanbul, there is no other choice,” the minister said, adding that discussions had already taken place with Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu.

“The most important thing is that, if there is an earthquake, we will ensure that no citizen throws himself out the window, waits in peace at home without panic and waits in silence for the earthquake to pass,” Ozhaseki explained. “I think we can prepare Istanbul for an earthquake before it comes.”

Seismologist behind Türkiye quake prediction issues new warning

The minister’s comments come as Türkiye continues its recovery efforts following February’s devastating earthquake, which killed more than 50,000 people within its borders, and at least 8,400 in neighboring Syria. More than 15 million people in Türkiye were impacted by the incident, while around four million buildings were damaged and over 345,000 apartments destroyed.

Istanbul, a city of 15 million people, sits on the North Anatolian fault line and experts have predicted that the city is due its own major earthquake by 2030. About 70% of Istanbul’s structures were constructed prior to the implementation of building regulations in 1999, and are therefore considered potentially unsafe. A recent study concluded that the death toll from a significant earthquake in Istanbul could surpass 90,000 people.

Ozhaseki also explained that as many as 1.5 million housing units in Istanbul, or around one in four, are potentially at risk, and said “We are doing our best for all our citizens in the earthquake zone until the end.”

A 1999, 7.6-magnitude earthquake with its epicenter close to the northwestern city of Izmit, around 100km (62 miles) from Istanbul, caused the deaths of more than 17,000 people and damage exceeding $3 billion.

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