Hearthbeat of the World: Earthquake

Earthquakes do not kill. But actually unconsciousness, ignorance, unsystematic urbanization and uncontrolled construction that have spread to the whole society in layers causes such an extensive destruction.

Earthquakes are the heartbeat of the world. They are important signs of the world's survival. A world without an earthquake is dead, and it is not possible to talk about humanity or any other living life. Thanks to scientific and technological developments. Instead of opposing nature, humanity enables to exist in spite of natural disasters.

Turkey is an earthquake country, which is surrounded by important fault lines in the directions of North Anatolian, East Anatolian and West Anatolian fault zones. When the locations of those fault lines are examined throughout the history of humanity, we can say that they have been the preferred locations for civilization settlements. Main reason is simple because those zones are close to the water level and they are fertile lands for agriculture. In history various civilizations were established on those fault lines and thay collapsed or even totally disappeared during several great earthquakes in history on Anatolia. Despite these anormous disasters in history, civilizations continued to establish their settlements and cities again and again around those fault zones. 

Recently The Eastern Anatolian fault line, which has been dormant for 500 years, has been activated by two earthquakes with a magnitude of 7.7 and 7.6 on February 6, 2023, for approximately 300 km. It caused great loss of life in 10 cities and their surrounding settlements.

Today, when we examine the fault lines in Turkey and the urbanization around them, nearly 90% of our cities are located on or around these fault lines. It looks like people will keep living in those earthquake zones as long as the conditions of 'Earthquake Resilient Urban Planning' are matched with the improvements in science and engineering solutions. 

Buildings built with competent architecture, competent engineering, competent construction and competent control mechanism do not collapse even if they are directly on the fault line. The buildings that have not been demolished today are proof of this fact.

In this context, when we examine the demolitions, first of all the whole system with all its layers should be examined. We should also hold the mirror to ourselves, rather than blaming the contractors, who are the last part of the chain. In any circumstances people who are not competent should not be given the right to be a part of this system, professional internal audit and training mechanisms should be made operational.


In other words, we need to educate the society to reach  a high level of knowledge and awareness who does not forget. The only way to do this is through competent professional education. Education, education, education…

The rehabilitation processes of cities should consist of certain phases. In the first stage, it is important to establish tent cities with a correct settlement planning, and then temporary container houses settlements should follow it quickly. While these temporary accommodation opportunities provide solutions to the vital needs of the earthquake victims for a certain period of time, on the other hand, permanent housing construction should not be started with an unplanned rush. It is important  that  the management of this process should be handled in a way that can produce a long-term permanent solution. 

Prof. Dr. Naci Görür who is an important Turkish Jeolog,  mentions that all the parameters that makes the city such as ‘ Management, Society, Infrastructure, Building stock, Environment and Economy’ all should be made ‘Earthquake Resilient’. 

First of all, micro-zoning analyisis should be done in the regions and then it should be carried out to the urban planning, architectural planning and construction phases for permanent settlements that will meet the conditions of of 'Earthquake Resilient Urban Planning'. 

Instead of macro solutions, we need resilient urban system designs that can create micro-communities, micro-economies, and where nature, environment and climatic sensitivities will be implemented in to the process with scientific solutions.

Although the earthquake is a great disaster reality in front of Turkey today, on the other hand, climatic disasters that involve also  the whole world such as floods, fires, storms etc. are increasing day by day. In this context, considering the increasing climatic disasters in an earthquake country like Turkey, a supra-political Ministry of Disaster must be established.


Melike Altınışık, 23.02.2023