Thousands of Buildings Collapsed in One Turkish City. Thousands More May Have to Come Down.


Mr. Genes, the engineering professor, said the destruction drove home the importance of listening to scientists. Ten years ago, Mr. Genes was part of a team that analyzed the potential damage to Antakya from an earthquake and found that many of the buildings it assessed were vulnerable to collapse.

A map showing where shaking was most intense during the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in southern Turkey. Shaking was strongest along the fault in the region and some of the most severe shaking happened in Antakya.

Source: USGS

Shake intensity shown only for the first Feb. 6 earthquake.

By Scott Reinhard

“The politicians didn’t consider what the science is saying,” Mr. Genes said. “They always considered how they could get political support. For that reason, on very bad soil conditions, just for people to be able to earn huge money in a short period of time, they allowed them to construct 10-story buildings in Antakya, or more than 10. It could be possible, but you have to make huge investments in the foundation or soil improvement.”

After the earthquake, many of the buildings the group assessed as vulnerable did, in fact, collapse.


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