Selim Tulumtaş, branch head of İMO-Ankara (Chamber of Construction Engineers), has pointed out that the Gölcük earthquake of 17 August 1999, which caused thousands of people to lose their lives, was actually one of the most devastating natural disasters of the last century and reminded that 66% of Turkey is listed as seismic zone, at first and second degrees. Tulumtaş said: “Although 17 years have passed after the August 17 earthquake, our cities are still not prepared for earthquakes.”
The massive structures pose a risk
Reminding that a great majority of the structures pose a risk since they have already been damaged during the earthquake, Tulumtaş explained that if precautions are taken before an earthquake, the risks can indeed be lowered. Also noting that reports about earthquake research are not taken into consideration, Tulumtaş emphasized the insufficiency of inspection budgets and the need for a change of the system for inspection institutions.
‘The approach of ‘demolish and rebuild’ is damaging to demographics’
Talking about the social dimension of the demolish-rebuild approach in urban transformation, Tulumtaş also drew attention to the damaging impact of the ‘law on transformation of the regions under risk of disaster’ on demographics, also underlining that even places that should not be demolished get knocked down.
Tulumtaş also mentioned the government’s registry regulations for members of the trade associations and emphasized its negative influence on relations between the government officials and these members, which consequently hinders the effectiveness of all the activities of such associations - including the efforts of İMO for rising awareness about earthquake precautions.
‘They divided people along with roads’
Tulumtaş added that they have asked for information with regards to the progress in relation to the National Earthquake Strategy and Action Plan put in force in 2012 but have not been able to obtain much since the staff in the organization are not even in contact with each other in an effective way and they have a serious coordination problem. Criticizing the government’s wrong policies that have also affected the construction sector negatively, Tulumtaş said, “They (government officials) say ‘We divided roads and united people’. They have indeed divided roads, it’s true; but they have also divided people, too.”Kaynak: Birgun.net