A quake of unthinkable proportions is due in Istanbul. Residents ask if the city is prepared
Istanbul CNN —For more than five weeks, Turkey has grappled with the aftermath of a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake in the country’s south-east.
But further afield, in its biggest and most populous city, pressure is mounting on authorities to prepare for the possibility of another natural disaster of unthinkable proportions.
“If a major earthquake doesn’t happen in the next twenty years in Istanbul, then we would all be very surprised,” the Istanbul Technical University professor tells CNN.
Once the capital of both the Byzantine empire and the Ottoman empire, the densely populated city is home to around 16 million people.
“We can foretell that an earthquake of that magnitude will happen soon, but that is the best we can do.
A study conducted by the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute estimates a death toll of more than 14,000 if a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in Istanbul were to occur at night.
“You can’t just think about the direct impact of the shaking, you must also think about what will follow the shaking.
It is a sobering prediction that could leave some 4.5 million people homeless, according to city officials – that’s more than a quarter of Istanbul’s population.
Now, after more than 48,000 people were killed in Turkey by last month’s earthquake, Istanbul is racing to shore up its defenses against a natural disaster that experts say could strike at any moment.
@NadaaBashir reports on the thousands of buildings in Istanbul that have been placed in 'high-risk' categories.
But chief among the city’s priorities is its rapid scanning system to assess the safety of Istanbul’s buildings.
Many less-privileged neighborhoods in the city were built prior to the introduction of earthquake regulations and are considered unsafe.