Protrainy | Feb. 17, 2023, 12:52 p.m.

Turkey witnessed two major earthquakes - measuring 7.8 and 7.5 on the magnitude scale - flattened buildings of all kinds and killed thousands of people across southern Turkey and northern Syria.
But what surprises the most is that newly constructed buildings collapsed and turned into dust. According to modern construction, buildings should be able to withstand this level of magnitude.

The sight of newly constructed apartments collapsing in the earthquakes that hit Turkey has sparked anger. The BBC examined three new buildings, turned to rubble, to find out what they reveal about building safety.
So most importantly what led this structural damage to happen even when  regulations following previous disasters in the country were supposed to ensure these protections were built in. All the skilled labour and materials were mentioned to be  “FIRST CLASS”.

The recent construction means it should have been built to the latest standards, updated in 2018, which require structures in earthquake-prone regions to use high-quality concrete reinforced with steel bars. Columns and beams must be distributed to effectively absorb the impact of earthquakes.

It’s almost expected that older buildings won’t be able to handle intense loads during an earthquake, but modern buildings should be able to.

So here are some of the points which can clear the questions like how this disaster took place leading to more than 13000 deaths on records. 

High trembling
As Turkey is said to be situated on two main fault zones, the East Anatolian and the North Anatolian, which makes it more susceptible to quakes.
Al Jazeera, Professor Okan Tuysuz, a geological engineer from Istanbul Technical University, said, “The first one was roughly equivalent to the energy release from an explosion of about five million tonnes of TNT. The second was equivalent to 3.5 million tonnes. Most buildings would struggle to withstand such force”

Sinan Turkkan, civil engineer and president of Turkey’s Earthquake Retrofit Association, agreed. “Not only were the earthquakes extremely forceful, but they also hit in quick succession,” he explained. “Many buildings only received light to medium damage in the first quake but collapsed after the second one.”

Poor construction of the buildings

As per the experts, the poor construction and the use of inferior materials have mutually contributed to the disaster.
David Alexander, a professor of emergency planning at University College London, told Associated Press (AP), “This is a disaster caused by shoddy construction, not by an earthquake”.
He also added that  well-constructed buildings would have survived these recent earthquakes.

Professor Ian Main, a professor of seismology and rock physics at the University of Edinburgh, told The Guardian, “Looking at some of the pictures of the damaged buildings, it is evident that most of them were not designed to withstand very strong earthquakes. It is clear that many apartment blocks have experienced so-called pancake collapse.”
“This happens when the walls and floors are not tied together well enough, and each floor collapses vertically down on the one below leaving a pile of concrete slabs with hardly any gaps between. This means that chances of survival for anyone inside are very small.”

Failure to enforce building regulations

In November 2022, after a magnitude 6 earthquake damaged more than 2,000 buildings in Duzce, northern Turkey, environment and urbanisation minister Murat Kurum underlined that the authorities were working towards making every building in the country “earthquake safe by 2035”.
The government offered financial incentives but did not make participation in its urban transformation project compulsory. This effectively meant only people who were in a position to make money from rebuilding – people in possession of valuable plots suitable for further development  – agreed to demolish their old properties and rebuild according to the latest code. Many did not want to spend money on rebuilding work or reinforcements that did not seem urgent. This is why, experts say, more than 20 years after the Marmara earthquake, Turkey is full of buildings constructed using sub-par materials and long-discredited construction techniques that immediately crumble when faced with a strong tremor.
“This saddens me deeply as an engineer,” Turkkan said. “If we managed to get everyone on board, we could have either reinforced or rebuilt all defective buildings in the past 20 years. We could have saved at least 5,000 of the buildings that we lost on Monday from complete destruction. We could have saved many, many lives.”

As rescuers continue to search through the rubble looking for miracles, the nation is now trying to understand why this natural disaster – for which Turkey was supposedly preparing for more than 20 years – caused so much damage to the country’s infrastructure.
Was it that the two earthquakes – the first at a magnitude of 7.8 and the second at 7.6 – were simply too violent for most buildings to survive? Or that the buildings were not up to modern construction standards?  Was there negligence on the part of the authorities?
As per above points it seems like it was a tragic combination which led to this disaster.We can say that the Engineers in Turkey May Have Ignored Building Codes, Leading Even New Skyscrapers to Collapse