Some 27 percent of Turkey’s population lives in areas that carry the highest earthquake risk, Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag said on March 1. 

“Some 26 of all buildings are also located in those areas,” Akdag said during a symposium organized by the Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) in Ankara on the occasion of “Earthquake Week.”

Akdag said not all buildings situated in earthquake areas were under risk. The ones built before a certain period were the main ones to watch out for.

“The focus should be on improving existing buildings. Turkey has upgraded its ‘risk map’ and developed a software program that helps authorities assess potential risks in almost every land plot, information that helps to build safer buildings,” he said.

The minister also called on people to take out catastrophe insurance (DASK), noting that only 48 percent of houses are currently covered by the insurance scheme.

Akdag reiterated that Istanbul had the highest risk.

Measures to mitigate risks 

Areas that facilitate faster response to earthquakes will be created and the number of response teams will increase, Akdag said, noting that the first 72 hours is crucial after disaster strikes and that proper logistics infrastructure should be in place for an effective response.

“The AFAD currently has well-trained 2,000 rescue personnel but this is not enough. Between 2018 and 2019 some 20,000 firefighters across the country will receive training to respond to natural disasters and other crises besides fires,” the minister said.

Source:  Daily Hurriyet

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