New report into Turkey-Syria earthquakes uncovers deficiencies in building structures and construction shortcuts were the main cause of casualties

March 26, 2024

Findings show that deficiencies were also recorded among even the newest building stock. Critically, despite established technical know-how, state-of-the-art building codes and rigorous building regulations, deficiencies in Reinforced Concrete (RC) structures were found even in the newest building stock . Building stock is primarily composed of Reinforced Concrete structures, which were therefore the main cause of the casualties . A review of building stock and infrastructure is critical to understand risk levels for future earthquakes. Our field work and remote analysis revealed many issues, including the issue of non-compliant buildings with little seismic resilience.

A new, independent field investigation into the aftermath of the Turkey-Syria earthquakes has found that a drive for profit has pushed all players within the construction industry to take shortcuts, with building stock primarily made of Reinforced Concrete (RC) structures, being the main cause of the casualties. 

Findings show that deficiencies were also recorded among even the newest building stock. This is despite established technical know-how, state-of-the-art building codes and rigorous building regulations. 

The longitudinal study report published here today by the Institution of Structural Engineers for EEFIT, was co-led by Cambridge's Professor Emily So, Professor of Architectural Engineering and Director of the Cambridge University Centre for Risk in the Built Environment (CURBE) and Dr Yasemin Didem Aktas from the Faculty of Engineering Sciences at UCL. Some of the findings include:

  • The drive for profit pushes players within the construction industry to take shortcuts. The auditing and quality control mechanisms embedded in the legal and bureaucratic processes should be strengthened to ensure code compliance. The legalisation of non-compliant buildings through amnesties cannot continue. 
  • Critically, despite established technical know-how, state-of-the-art building codes and rigorous building regulations, deficiencies in Reinforced Concrete (RC) structures were found even in the newest building stock. This demonstrates that seismic resilience is not only a technical problem in Turkey, but one that demands a multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary dialogue, scrutinising the regulatory system, bureaucracy, the legal and political backdrop within which the construction sector operates in Turkey. 
  • Building stock is primarily composed of Reinforced Concrete structures, which were therefore the main cause of the casualties. The team saw problems with such structures across their whole lifecycle from design to implementation and post-occupancy stages. The structures therefore did not withstand the seismic pressures.  
  • A review of building stock and infrastructure is critical to understand risk levels for future earthquakes. Lack of publicly available data is a big problem in Turkey, hindering not only a robust inquiry into damage and associated building characteristics, but also reliably establishing the risk profiles for future events. 
  • Debris management and demolishment practices have not fully recognised the potential of mid-/long-term environmental and public health implications. Field observations and contacts in the affected communities show that they are already affected by the poor air quality. The Compulsory Earthquake Insurance (CEI) is a system that was put in place in Turkey following the 1999 earthquakes to provide monetary reserves to fund the management of future disasters. The extent to which these funds have been used and how resources have been allocated remain unclear.' 

Read the full report and findings here.

Professor So says: “The 2023 Türkiye and Syria earthquakes were truly tragic, hitting an already fragile population, including migrants. Our field work and remote analysis revealed many issues, including the issue of non-compliant buildings with little seismic resilience. Building code compliance needs to be strengthened.” 

EEFIT - a joint venture between industry and universities - gathered a team of 30 global experts to assess the damage and develop suggestions to reduce future impacts and vulnerabilities. They studied the science, engineering and data related to the earthquakes including geotechnics, the structural and infrastructure impact, and the relief response and recovery. The team continues to work in the area, to follow the recovery and collaborate with colleagues from Turkey for better seismic resilience.

 

 

The source of this news is from University of Cambridge

Popular in Research

1

Apr 6, 2024

Conspiracy theory runs wild linking New York City’s 4.8-magnitude earthquake to date of solar eclipse

2

Apr 4, 2024

Five Sydney researchers honoured by Australian Academy of Science

3

Apr 9, 2024

The rise of Dawn

4

Apr 9, 2024

High School Biology Textbooks Do Not Provide Students with a Comprehensive View of the Science of Sex and Gender

5

3 days ago

How early-stage cancer cells hide from the immune system

Supreme Court rules Colorado can't keep Trump off ballot

3 days ago

Nikki Haley gets first 2024 win in the Washington, D.C., GOP primary

4 days ago

Silence broken on gender pay gaps but we must hold organisations to account

6 days ago

Nasdaq Futures Up 2% as Nvidia Powers Global Rally: Markets Wrap

Apr 8, 2024

Investigating and preserving Quechua

6 days ago

Biden visits his Pennsylvania hometown to call for more taxes on the rich and cast Trump as elitist

6 days ago