A law specific to Istanbul is a must: Mayor of Istanbul

The quake-prone Istanbul is among the hot topics following the twin earthquakes in southeast Turkey. Mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu and the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) team launched the ‘Istanbul Earthquake Mobilization Plan’ consisting of solutions, measure proposals, and cooperation.

Ekrem Imamoglu said a law specific to Istanbul is obligatory. “Istanbul doesn’t need a new luxury building stock. Relocating the city is not a solution.

Solutions based on science must be produced and in-situ reinforcement must be performed. We should write off zoning amnesty forever,” he said.

Imamoglu stated that they start everything from scratch to make Istanbul resilient against quakes and disasters. He also called on the public and private sector to collaborate and join the mobilization.

The Mayor of Istanbul touched on the roadmap of IBB, which is designed within the frame of the ‘Istanbul Earthquake Mobilization Plan’. As part of it, the ‘Marmara-Istanbul Earthquake Council’ covering Istanbul and the Marmara region will be established. “We can’t solve if we don’t approach this holistically. Ministries, Governorship, IBB, district municipalities, and relevant sectors should plan an organization,” Imamoglu said, adding that they should prepare a roadmap with a shared wisdom.

“We should revise our budget in line with this action plan. We should allocate a budget for quakes as much as we can. This can’t be done by IBB alone. I calling in the central administration, government, and all ministries for a large mobilization. We are planning 30 earthquake parks in the first three months.”


IBB also offers legislation work in many fields, including the revision of the Istanbul Zoning Regulation which will be submitted to the Municipal Council. “It will include partial and comprehensive reinforcement. We’ll accept applications by the midMarch,” Imamoglu said. “We received over 110,000 applications after quakes. We’ll proceed with relevant stakeholders to widen fast scanning. We also propose to carry out legislation work by the central administration to further spread it. We should work together for buildings without occupancy permits and authorization.”

As part of the holistic housing policies, IBB will lay the foundation of social rental houses and payable social houses consisting of 5,000 units in the areas which are owned by the Municipality and whose project and regulatory process are completed. IBB plans to build over 10,000 homes in the medium term.

Imamoglu also noted that they will develop a 50-kilometer-long fiber optic early warning system. IBB will maximize earthquake preparation and intervention thanks to 5,000 sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) to be developed on this line.

Moreover, IBB will kick off another project to create effective search and rescue teams in each neighborhood of Istanbul. “We’ll accelerate training and provide the necessary equipment. We’ll sign a protocol with professional organizations, train 5,000 people and make them ready in all neighborhoods,” Imamoglu added.

The post-earthquake emergency action plan

►5,363 assembly points within walking distance will be created. All needs, including mobile charging stations and 3-day water, will be met in these areas.

►Samandira Army Air Base and Istanbul, Ataturk, Sabiha Gokcen, Corlu, and Hazerfen Airports will be used for the fast arrival of search and rescue teams.

►Closed highways will be determined by helicopters and drones. Heavy equipment will be directed to open them. 1,178 units of heavy equipment, 126 fire department areas, and 5,138 personnel will be ready for search and rescue operations.

►291 hospitals with 37,700 beds will be ready, and patients will be transported by helicopters.

►Ships, each of which has a shelter capacity of 570 people and a patient capacity of 200 people, will enter into service.

►94 earthquake-resilient subway stations will be used as logistic centers and temporary health facilities.

►Aid materials will be delivered from four major logistic centers by small vehicles to the inner neighborhoods of Istanbul.

►Apart from 1 million shelter areas determined by the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) for the first 24 hours, shelter areas with a capacity of 3.5 million people will enter into service. There will be no power cuts thanks to energy stations.

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