Buildings in danger of collapsing are declared “habitable”

After the severe earthquake on 6 February, the Turkish state is declaring more and more partially collapsed buildings as "slightly damaged" and thus habitable.

22 days have passed since the earthquake with its epicentre in the district of Elbistan in Maraş province. Many houses are still buried, and the smell of corpses is coming from the rubble. Meanwhile, the Turkish government is assessing the damage. Many people are angry because their badly damaged buildings are declared "habitable". People are afraid that their houses may collapse. Just how great this danger is is shown by the fact that only on Sunday the earth shook again in Elbistan with a magnitude of 4.3.


The house of Bayram Dağ, who has been working in the construction industry for years, was also classified as slightly damaged. Dağ told the Mezopotamya news agency that such an assessment cannot be made without taking cores, and said: "Our house was classified as 'slightly damaged'. The cracks are getting bigger due to the aftershocks. I check the building every day. In the next six to seven months, the cracks will widen. The ground no longer supports the building. It is reported as slightly damaged because the load-bearing parts are still strong, but the ground under the building has shifted. Two large buildings next to it have already collapsed. This building is still standing and holding because the supporting parts are still anchored. But at the slightest movement, the foundation will shift and there will be deaths. Are people supposed to die here? Without taking drill cores, you cannot seriously say that the building is slightly damaged. The wall may only be slightly damaged, but you have to see what it looks like under the foundation."


Hatice Günay lives on the ground floor of a building also classified as "slightly damaged". Günay stated that the inspection teams had to break the window and enter the house that way, because the door could not be opened due to the pressure caused by the damaged attic. Günay no longer goes into her damaged house out of fear. Regarding the work of the inspection teams, she said: "They just hit it with a hammer and say: 'The house is stable'. If the house is stable, why did this happen? The lower floor carries all the load. If the lower floor collapses, everything is over and gone. We live here with three people. If there is a second earthquake, we will be buried underneath."


Almost all the walls in Günay's house have cracks. Cracks can also be seen on the ceiling. Nevertheless, the house was classified as "slightly damaged". Hatice Günay said: "If it is only slightly damaged, let them come and live here themselves. Would you live in this house? We have to take care of ourselves, we have no income, and my husband is sick. They say, 'It is slightly damaged. You can move the furniture to the middle and repair the walls.' How am I supposed to move the things and fix them in this mess? They are all broken and spilled. We are left with nothing."