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Risky buildings across Türkiye evacuated after quakes

Updated: Mar 1

Evacuations of numerous buildings across Türkiye were initiated following earthquake-safety inspections after the deadly Feb. 6 tremors rocked the country's south, with several health institutions determined as unsafe in Istanbul already transferring patients to other nearby hospitals.

After failing the inspections, the evacuation plan of one of the most significant hospitals in Istanbul, Istanbul University-Cerrahpaşa (IUC), was announced on Monday, while the dean of the Faculty of Medicine affiliated with the hospital stated Tuesday morning that the evacuation and transfer of patients had started in the closed departments of the institution.

"After this decision, we cannot accept patients at the moment. We have also transferred our current inpatients to nearby hospitals. We are trying to ensure their transfer by contacting 112 for our patients in the intensive care unit," Dr. Sait Gönen said.

Dr. Nuri Aydın, the rector of the IUC, in his press release stated that after the recent disaster, the safety of all buildings in their universities if an earthquake should strike Istanbul was questioned again.

"As a result of the inspection, it has been determined that the Monoblock buildings complex consisting of 17 separate buildings, including all internal and surgical sciences, and the Uğur Derman building, the cafeteria building and the student dormitories are not structurally sound enough. For this reason, an area of approximately 105,000 square meters, which constitutes the main backbone of the Cerrahpaşa Medical Faculty, will not be able to continue its service," Aydin noted.

However, an important stage has been reached in the New Cerrahpaşa Project, which has been on the public agenda for a long time, Aydin said, adding that: "The construction of the first-stage hospital buildings, which will consist of a closed area of approximately 220,000 square meters, was announced by the Housing Development Administration (TOKI) about a month ago, and the tender was set to be held on Feb. 28.''

''After the tender, the construction will begin when the New Cerrahpaşa Project is completed. Cerrahpaşa Medical Faculty, which is currently the best medical education center in our country and also placed in the top 500 in the world, according to the QS classification, will have the education and health fields it deserves. Thus, Cerrahpaşa will continue to exist on its own campus in the future," Aydın highlighted.

Meanwhile, investigations of the buildings of health institutions continue. After the examination at Istanbul's Kağıthane State Hospital built in 2005 was completed, it was decided to move the facility as soon as possible, local media reported Tuesday. According to reports, the facility will be moved to the Seyrantepe building of Şişli Hamidiye Etfal Hospital within two weeks.

Earlier last week, the decision to evacuate 93 schools in Istanbul was undertaken by Istanbul Governor's Office, which announced that the students enrolled in these schools and educational institutions found at risk would be transferred to earthquake-safe schools.

Soon after, students and teachers returned to the historical Pertevniyal High School, dating back to the 1870s, one last time to collect their belongings as their school was one of 93 schools deemed risky by the city.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Feb. 20 also decided to evacuate the Atatürk Cultural Center (AKM) in the northern province of Zonguldak, which was previously found to be vulnerable to earthquakes. The building was built in 1993 and houses state theaters, meeting and exhibition halls, and a public library.



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