Schools in earthquake zones must be relocated: Experts

Around 4,159 schools in Türkiye are located in places with high earthquake risk, of which 191 schools are in the fault avoidance zone, the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) has announced, with engineers warning of a potential hazard in the event of other earthquakes.

Stating that 4,159 schools, which constitute 8.5 percent of all schools in the country, are built in risky areas, and 191 of them are located within the fault avoidance zone, the TMMOB’s Chamber of Geological Engineers (JMO) called for the relocation of these schools to safer areas.

In the Feb. 6 earthquakes that rattled 11 provinces, the greatest destruction occurred in settlements located on fault zones and in areas sitting on soils with high acceleration values, a statement by JMO said.

An immediate inspection should be carried out for schools, hospitals, administrative buildings, critical infrastructure facilities and residences in risky areas according to the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency’s (AFAD) Türkiye Earthquake Hazard Map, it added.

According to JMO, buildings in the fault avoidance zone should be demolished within the scope of urban transformation, and all structures in these areas should be transferred to safer places.

The statement also included a map showing the locations of schools in areas that are likely to experience earthquakes with an acceleration of 0.50g and above.

It is seen that the schools in the riskiest areas are spread across 38 provinces, with Kocaeli, Sakarya, Bingöl, Muş and Aydın in the top five in terms of the number of schools.