People flock to test homes against quake risk after Istanbul scare

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 04.10.2019 02:03

Last week's 5.8 magnitude earthquake was enough to send people into the streets in Istanbul. Although there were no major damage and casualties, residents of country's most populated city are concerned about the durability of their houses. Companies providing earthquake risk test services see a boom in the number of customers following the tremors.

For prices ranging between TL 2,500 and TL 4,000, customers can have their buildings examined for risks. Prices increase based on the height of the building. Firms run a number of tests on safety of buildings, from analysis of building components in laboratories to observation of cracks, from testing the durability of concrete under pressure to likely corrosion of iron components used in construction. Lastly, experts test the foundation for seismic shifts. Civil engineer Gökhan Usta, who works in a test company, says they saw an increase in clientele after the earthquake off the coast of Silivri on city's European side. "We are guided by [state] regulations on construction and run our tests in accordance with them," he told İhlas News Agency. Usta says they have at least three customers per day asking for tests that take about ten days.

Ayten Eryılmaz, a customer, says her house had cracks and she was "scared." "I think it might collapse in another earthquake. The company sent a crew and they checked the cracks, iron materials etc. I was shocked to see corroded iron at the foundation of my basement," she says.

Tremors in the earthquake-prone country sparked fears for the future of buildings, especially after some schools and buildings were evacuated due to cracks. Experts have warned people to take out compulsory earthquake insurance as soon as possible in order to protect themselves and their belongings. While insurance purchases are on the rise, people have also gone online in droves, searching for survival kits and tents. "Compulsory earthquake insurance sales increased 100% in our company as well as in the whole country," said Sibel Doğaç, a sales director at Quick Sigorta, an Istanbul-based insurance company.

Meanwhile, earthquakes continue threatening the country. A 5.0 magnitude off the Greek island of Rhodes at 07:44 a.m. was felt in the towns in southwestern province of Muğla. Authorities said the tremors at a depth of about six kilometers had an epicenter 58 kilometers off the coast of Fethiye town of Muğla. Officials said there was no casualties or property damage.

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