ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF DISASTERS
Republic of Turkey
State Planning Organization
1.1. The Effects of Disasters in Development
1.2. Disasters in Turkey and the Losses of 1999 Earthquakes
2. DISASTER MANAGEMENT IN TURKEY
2.1. The Current Situation
2.1.1. Institutional and Legal Structure
126.96.36.199. Institutional Structure
• General Directorate of Disaster Affairs
• Turkey General Directorate of Emergency Management
• General Directorate of Civil Defense
• Association of the Red Crescent
• Roles and responsibilities of other ministries
• Related Commissions And Councils
188.8.131.52 Legislative Structure
2.2. Disaster Management in Five Year Development Plans and Annual
2.3. Problems and Opportunities in Disaster Management
184.108.40.206. Administrative Problems
220.127.116.11. Legal Problems
1.1The Effects of Disasters in Development
Today, natural and technological disasters have significant effects on development
economics and theories. These effects to be taken into consideration in choices and
decisions regarding social and economic development form diverse ‘risk’ groups in a
large scope at the present time. The concept of risk has already been one of the
basic references of social and economic planning. When these risks occur, they not
only create more widespread and destructive effects and but also pose challenges
beyond the capacities of traditional risk management. In recent years, developed
economies and international institutions have made efforts to find new pursuits and
develop methods in risk management against new natural disasters, technological
accidents, terrorism and abuse of science and technology. Given new kinds of risks,
development of new roles, organs and ruling methods carry much more importance
for developing economies when societal structuring, institutional authorities and
responsibilities are questioned again.
This situation has also changed traditional evaluations and attitudes related to
natural disasters. Besides search & rescue and medical & social aids after disasters;
that is, ‘bandaging wounds’, the significance of efforts to ‘reduce damage’ is
understood better. Preparations and methods of taking precautions necessary for
reducing damage require institutions and operations different from emergency or
crisis management after disasters.
Today many countries have to deal with costs of the risks caused by natural and
technological hazards and still have to manage their development. This condition
requires not only the employment of resources in a country by means of different
criteria, but also planning of social organizations and governmental structures in a
more effective and strong manner. The countries which are exposed to seasonal
typhoons, excessive rains and droughts and are the target of international terrorism
have to adapt their infrastructures and societal institutions accordingly. In such
countries security increasingly becomes a pre-condition of social welfare.
The potential of Turkey’s geography to cause the biggest economic losses and
damages to social life, are related to movements of the earth’s crust. The multi-
layered crust shows a high level of motion and renders Turkey into a country of
earthquakes. Although centuries of experience, traditional settlement and
construction methods have enabled this danger to be kept under control to a certain
extent, the 20th century has brought out great changes distinct from the traditional in
Turkey. Increase and gathering of the population in particular centers, spread of new
structuring forms have constituted the basic characteristics of development in Turkey
in the last 50-60 years. The process of urbanization and structuring in question has
exhibited an outstanding performance compared to other countries around the world
in the same period. This rapid urbanization of low quality and standards, which is far
from controls, has not gained any share from capital accumulation processes at the
lowest cost (as different from European countries); however, with a view to
contributing to this accumulation, it has been sustained in annuity-based societal
Due to inefficient and indirect urbanization policies, most of our settlements perform
an unhealthy and illegal structuring today. In legally structured areas there are
problems such as inefficient preparation of projects and production from the
beginning, physical depreciation, dangerous additional constructions and functional
changes. Earthquake is not the only reason for these problems to become slaughter
machines. The inefficiency of public constructions poses another problem.
Furthermore, there are a great number of historical architectures in our cities, but
regardless of any disaster, these architectures are exposed to danger of vanishment
due to the lack of sufficient preservation through decisive policies.
As a result, cities in Turkey have formed risk pools vulnerable to natural and
technological hazards, and have been deprived of the qualities to deal with either
earthquakes or any other hazards. When such considerations are evaluated together,
and especially as a result of the earthquake pressure, related circles and particularly,
local and central administrations now agree that effective urban policies in our
country should be in pursuit of urban renovation and transformation rather than
opening new areas. This perspective determines the direction to be followed in
economic resources and forces, forms of organization, roles and adjustments in
regulations in the near future of Turkey. Regarding the improvement of our cities
targeting EU membership and the development of urban life standards in Turkey,
these conditions also provide a diverse range of benefits.
The structural stock constituting most of the fixed investments in our country can be
divided into two groups in terms of disasters: rural and urban. Rural structures have
been constructed with local material and workmanship traditions without any
engineering service, whereas urban structures have been constructed with sufficient
or insufficient engineering service. According to the statistics, direct economic loss in
our country caused by the natural disasters in the last century constitutes 1% of the
Gross National Product. With indirect economic losses, loss in market share and
production, this rate increases to 5-7%. These rates indicate that the effects of
disasters cannot be ignored in the development process of our country.
1.2. Disasters in Turkey and the Losses of 1999 Earthquakes
According to the amount of damage they bring about, the ratios of natural disasters
in Turkey are as follows: %64 earthquakes, 16% landslides, 15% floods, 4% fire,
1% meteorological disasters. In the 20th century, 97,200 people lost their lives,
175,000 people were injured, 583,371 buildings collapsed and were heavily damaged
in 158 earthquakes. In terms of the “map of earthquake regions” in effect, 96% of
the lands in our country are regarded as the earthquake regions carrying different
levels of risks and 98% of our population live in these regions. 66% of these areas
are located in the active fault zones. 11 out of 17 cities with population of more than
1,000,000 and 57 out of 81 cities are included in this region. Moreover, 65 (52%) out
of 124 energy plants are in the highest risk earthquake zones and 28 (23%) in the
second degree. Unless regional and local precautions are taken, such damages and
losses are expected to increase. Furthermore, unlike the developed countries, there
are insufficient planning and educational methods and people are not warned
beforehand against meteorological disasters in our country; and economic and social
activities are easily hindered by the adverse weather conditions and significant losses
of lives and properties are experienced. Losses caused by floods cost nearly 100
million USA $ per year. As for the other disasters 1,878 woods fires occur and
approximately 12,890 acres of woods are destroyed a year according to the last ten
years of the statistics. In 1983, 580,000 tones of citrus were damaged by frost in the
Mediterranean region. 95% of the cultivated areas suffer from damage by hails bi
yearly and 47% of these areas are exposed to direct damages. On the other hand,
according to the statistics by SPI Private Specialized Commission, due to disasters,
yearly costs of an average of 10,000 buildings and their infrastructure need to be
covered. Considering all these losses as a whole, the effects of natural disasters on
Turkish economy become evident.
The earthquake in 17 August 1999 that occurred on the North Anatolian Fault and
the earthquake in Bolu-Düzce in 12 November 1999 are among the greatest
disasters of our country. Defined as the Marmara Earthquake, it hit İstanbul, Kocaeli,
Sakarya, Bolu, Bursa, Zonguldak, Eskişehir and Yalova to a large extent. Because the
earthquake occurred in a region of significant industrial centers and with high levels
of urbanization and population, there was a great loss of lives and property. The
biggest loss of lives and property occurred in Kocaeli, Sakarya and Yalova. 42 out of
every 100 buildings were affected by the earthquake and 33 of them collapsed. The
earthquake hit an area of 64,365 km2 and nearly 16 million people suffered from the
disaster at various rates. This number constitutes the ¼ of Turkey’s population. 80
% of population in the earthquake region live in cities and 20 % of them live in
villages. The biggest loss of lives was in Kocaeli and Sakarya. In the earthquake
66,441 residential buildings and 10,901 workplaces were heavily damaged, 67,247
residential buildings and 9,927 workplaces were moderately damaged, 80,160
residential buildings and 9,712 workplaces were slightly damaged; 18,000 citizens
lost their lives, 44,000 people were injured and our country suffered from direct
economic damage of nearly 10 billion US$.
2. DISASTER MANAGEMENT IN TURKEY
Disaster management has a long history in Turkey. These earthquakes and other
disasters have necessitated new regulations, so there have been improvements in
legislations and institutions. Disaster management has been developed in two ways.
Firstly, all of these precautions have focused on the cases of emergency and post-
emergency. Secondly, although some partial changes have been made in precautions
and institutions and studies have brought out partially overlapping results, they have
never gained a systematic coherence. New but partial regulations have been made
against each disaster and problem. Today Turkey is at a turning point of a new
structuring which will not only enable her to consider modern concepts and global
applications related to disasters and unique conditions of the country, but also will
provide a unity and give equal importance to Risk Management.
2.1 The Current Situation
The trend to attempt new regulations after disaster has been repeated strongly in
the 1999 earthquakes and some aspects of the Risk Management activities were put
onto the agenda of the Board of Ministers for the first time. Although these
courageous attempts have aimed to develop more secure structuring and life areas
such as Construction Control, Mandatory Earthquake Insurance and Occupational
Efficiency, one can hardly state that Disaster Management in Turkey has arrived at a
sufficient level not only because of taking backward steps in the past, but also the
lack of an integrity in the current institutions and processing methods. Even though
significant improvements related to emergency management have been made, the
subject of Risk Management in particular has not gained a sufficient capacity. The
current institutions can be grouped as ‘Institutions Directly Responsible for Disaster
Management’, ‘Related Institutions’ and ‘Provisionally Active Institutions After
2.1.1 Institutional and Legal Structure
18.104.22.168. Institutional Structure
The administrative structure concerned with disasters is mostly based on Emergency
Management. However, there are a number of institutions in charge of emergency
management whereas there are vacancies for some positions, which often creates
conflicting situations in authority and responsibility. For instance, ‘The Board of Crisis
Coordination’ established in accordance with The Legislation of Prime Ministry’s
Center for Crisis Management and Upper Coordination Board of Disasters established
in accordance with Law No 7269 consist of same ministers and perform the same
duties in disasters. The chief of the former is the Minister of State and Vice Prime
Minister and the chief of the latter is the Minister of State. Such problems can be
overcome only by coordination of all the operations related to emergency
management. According to the laws of establishment, the biggest authority is
governors and local governors. Although governors and local governors dealing with
disasters and crises have to act in accordance with separate laws, the lack of
coordination is not observed so much in the country as they are the only authority. A
model of emergency management that brings together all the capabilities and
resources of the central and local administrations, voluntary organizations and
business circles should be established and implemented.
As for Risk Management, there has been no effective institutionalization either in the
central or the local administrations. However, this responsibility naturally belongs to
the local administrations in charge of reconstruction and structuring. Like the public
authorities managing emergency cases, risk management should also be included in
the scope of local administrations and these two complementary authorities should
be activated, which will be achieved by amending Law No 7269 ‘disasters’ and Law
No 3149 ‘reconstruction’ in a complementary way. In this part the current institutions
and legislation are summarized.
General Directorate of Disaster Affairs
General Directorate of Disaster Affairs is responsible for implementing and
coordinating aid operations in case of a disaster, taking measures for immediate
sheltering after disaster, providing coordination and cooperation with related units,
taking necessary mitigation measures in disaster prone areas. Alongside coordination
duties, GDDA provides financial support and assistance to the administrators and
authorities within the disaster area as well as conducting studies related to the
construction of houses for disaster victims.
Turkey General Directorate of Emergency Management (TAY)
The framework of the Emergency Management in Turkey is added to the
responsibilities of the Prime Ministry with the decree no: 583 and “To provide an
affective emergency management in case of natural and technological threats which
are in such a scale that threatens national security to take necessary measures
beforehand and to provide coordination between agencies in search and rescue
operations during emergencies and recovery and reconstruction activities after
emergencies” are given to TAY with the decrees no: 583 and 600. According to this,
TAY is responsible for ensuring the establishment of emergency management centers
at governmental agencies, determining their working and coordination principles,
monitoring taking of precautions, preparation of plans and the establishment of data
banks by agencies and institutions for hazard mitigation, conducting the activities of
coordination in the utilization of all types of transport vehicles and rescue and relief
equipment and material, encouraging volunteer organization and individuals,
coordinating receipt and protection and usage of relief supplies.
General Directorate of Civil Defense
Directorate of Civil Defense is responsible for ensuring the security of people and
property at the time of disaster, to organize civil defense services to maintain and
supervise the preparation, implementation and coordination of these services at
public and private institutions to plan and implement emergency search and rescue
and first aid activities- to determine measures against fires and standards for fire
brigade, to train the person to supervise to keep search and rescue teams ready.
Association of the Red Crescent
In accordance with International agreements, main principles of the Association of
the Red Crescent are humanism, equality, equity, freedom, volunteer service,
universality, and uniqueness. Red Crescent as an institution undertakes a task at
usual conditions as well as disaster, war, mobilization, crisis and international aids in
reference to national regulations and laws.
Red Crescent provides hazard mitigation at local level before the disaster and basic
needs like shelter, nutrition, psychological support, blood and blood products after
the disaster to the affected victims under the Turkey disaster management system
by the mediation of both central organization and agencies. Besides, Red Crescent
has an important duty of receiving, storage, transport, and distribution of national
and international aids.
Roles and responsibilities of other ministries
The Ministry of Defense and Turkish Armed Forces
It is stated in the related laws and regulations, ensures to fulfill the tasks under the
responsibility of the Turkish Armed Forces and provides emergency management
plans to be prepared with the coordination of the governors.
The Ministry of Health
It ensures the first aid and cure services to be effectively implemented on time. It
takes precautions for preventive health services to be implemented, provides services
like vaccination and struggle with contagious disease.
Ministry of Transportation
Takes measures to keep transportation and communication services between
disaster area and other regions of the country.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
In case a decision is made for requesting foreign aids, MFA announces the type and
the amount of aids through the related international institutions. It also ensures
coordination for distribution of the foreign aids.
Related Commissions And Councils
It is seen that a great number of special commissions and councils have been
activated for management of emergency activities following a disaster, aiming to
ensure coordination and cooperation between related institutions. A part of these
implementations are conducted in accordance with the regulation entitled
“Emergency Aid Organization and Planning Principles” prepared according to the
article 4th of law no: 7269, which was altered in accordance with the law no: 1051.
1. “Disasters Coordination Center Council” meets together in Ankara under the
presidency of Undersecretary of Ministry of Public Works and Settlement in case of a
disaster, determining short and long term measures considering the first-hand
information gathered from the disaster area. Council consists of 12 Undersecretary of
Ministries, the Chairman of Red Crescent and a representative from the General
2. Parallel to this council, “District and Province Rescue and Aid Committee” are
constituted with the presidency of the governor and head official of district. Besides,
9 service groups are formed under the body of the Province Rescue and Aid
Committee. These group of services in importance sequence are as follows:
communication, transportation, search, rescue and debris removal, first aid and
health, pre-loss estimation and temporary shelter, safety, procurement, renting,
confiscation, allocation, agriculture, electricity, water and sewerage services. While
services like ensuring the communication, search & rescue and medical treatment,
debris removal and road opening, feeding, dressing, heating, temporary settlement,
security precautions, burying, and repairing infrastructure damages are carried on,
Military Units, Civil Defense, Ministry of Health and Red Crescent take responsibilities
in addition to the Province Rescue and Aid Committee.
3. “Natural Disaster Coordination Board” consists of Ministries of Public Works and
Settlement, Interior, Finance, and Health within the body of the Prime Ministry,
under the chairmanship of a State Minister, which conducts studies to improve the
legislation and implementation.
4. If required by Secretariat of the National Security Council, “Natural Disasters and
Civil Defense Planning, Monitoring and Assessment Group” is formed for a period of
5. Issues related with disaster measures are also included in the agenda of the
“Prime Ministry Crisis Management Center”. Regulations concerned with Crisis
Management Center came into force with the decree of Council of Ministers dated
6. “National Earthquake Council” is the independent expert committee constituted
with the circular numbered 2000/9 and dated 21.03.2000 of Prime Ministry. Giving
information to the public, determination of prior research areas, consultancy to public
officers, assessment of the applications related with ethical subjects is the main
responsibility of the Council. The Council neither have implementation responsibility
nor any sanction authority.
22.214.171.124. Legislative Structure
Legislation related to disaster management in Turkey actually took shape phase by
phase as a result of the needs aroused after disasters rather than a common
foresight and a conscious study. Therefore regulations mostly focused on recovery
until late 1999 when risk management issues started to be dealt with. However,
instead of building up a comprehensive risk management system, only sub systems
such as building inspection and insurance came into force. Today, “disaster law”
(7269) and “Civil Defense Law”(7126) particularly includes post disaster studies while
hazard mitigation and risk management are not referred either. For this reason
“Development Law (3194) should be renewed to cover the hazard mitigation and risk
management. Revision of Development system to cover building inspection issues
(4708) will ensure the consideration of risk and safety criteria in planning
2.2. Disaster Management in Five Year Development Plans and Annual
Within the development plans of Turkey that exposed to serious disasters such as
earthquakes, floods, landslides, fires since the ancient times, the SPO established a
special expert commission following the 1999 earthquake aiming to take the natural
disasters into account in the decision making process. This subject is included in the
agenda of 8th Five Year Development Plan.
The 4th Five Year Development Plan (1979-1983) included the fact for the first time
that under scope of housing sector, reducing disaster hazards is somewhat possible
through protective and proactive measurements and the inspection of the ongoing
building constructions. In this plan, it was clearly stated that development plans are
beyond healthy environment arrangements which legitimate illegal and unplanned
urbanization and far from finding solutions to the physical problems of the cities,
stressing that quality construction materials can not reach rural areas causing human
and property loss every year. Moreover it is stated that conducting new regulations
and standards for new constructions in the disaster risk areas as well as retrofitting
activities including the strengthening of existing building stocks is a must. On the
other hand, due the lack of finance sources funds for these activities in annual
programs, none of these studies will be initiated within this period.
The Seventh Five Year Development Plan (1996-2000) offers more comprehensive
and realistic approaches for mitigating disaster impacts. Local earthquake hazard
maps are strictly followed in order to prepare regional and physical planning studies.
It is of vital significance to work towards mitigating disaster damages and updating
regulations with regards to earthquake. Reconstruction Law numbered 3194
manifests planners, those who get plans done and violators of plans together with
sanctions that may be imposed, as for the law numbered 7269 proposes a scheme
for the coordination among relevant institutions and organizations.
In 1997 TGNA worked scrupulously to improve the situation, thus led to a
Parliamentarian investigation. Due to economic problems not much work was done,
however the following could be achieved:
1. ‘Research Centre for the Mitigation of Earthquake Hazards’ was found within
the Ministry of Public Works and Housing by the support of JICA, Japanese
International Aid Organization.
2. The Ministry of Public Works and Housing in 1996 prepared a new Earthquake
3. The implementation of ‘The Improvement of Turkish Disaster Management
System’ UNDP Project was commenced.
4. Earthquake legislation was put into force by the Ministry of Public Works and
Housing in order to have safe and modern edifices.
5. Civil defense units were formed by professional staff by the General
Directorate of Civil Defense, 26 in Istanbul and 34 in Erzurum.
6. Regulations for enhancing resistance against earthquakes and for the
establishment of a new building control system were prepared in the law
7. A draft design was prepared as well for the improvement of disaster
The 17 August 1999 earthquake is taken as the earthquake having the greatest
impact so far in the Republic of Turkey as it took place in İzmit where there are
heavy industries and intense population.
The Eighth Five Year Development Plan (2001-2005) covers disaster management in
a more detailed fashion. The Plan aims at minimizing earthquake damages, hence it
strives for the formation of relevant legal, corporate and technical framework. The
constant and systematic training of people at all levels of the society, central and
local administrations, private sector, NGOs are deemed as strategic tools for
According to the Plan national disaster maps, reconstruction plans regarding the
disasters and an effective building system are indispensable elements. In the ninth
section the plan determines the mistakes concerning the design of planning
processes within a system, the need to rearrange the relevant legislation and the
insufficiencies of reconstruction planning, location selection, ground engineering,
above-building designs, the approach to recover the damages instead of forming a
disaster management system for rational use of resources. The Eighth Plan foresees
a series of legal and corporate regulations to minimize disaster damages. Among
these are capable engineering, reconstruction law, local government, municipal laws,
civil law, mortgage law, commercial law, amendment laws numbered 7269 and
insurance law. Furthermore a national disaster information system and a national
disaster communication system are to be established. Risk-bearing areas will be
detected through ground studies and disaster maps and documents will be prepared
with all technical instruments. Reconstruction plans will be renewed according to the
results of the outcomes (RG 24231M, 15.11.2000, s. 258). However so little of what
has been put forward in the plans so far has been put to test.
2.3. Problems and Opportunities in Disaster Management
The most important problem faced in disaster management is the limited amount
preparations concerning risk mitigation. It is obligatory to render disaster
management holistic, coherent, and modern and relate it with management of all
In Turkey disaster management encompasses diverse corporate, administrative and
legal problems that fall into emergency management and risk management.
126.96.36.199. Administrative Problems
A new approach focusing heavily on post-disaster regulations
Authority-related complexities in disaster management
Resorting only to public resources in decreasing disaster damages.
Restricted effectiveness of all institutions in planning and risk mitigation processes.
15 reconstruction amnesty laws have been passed as of 1948; illegally constructed
buildings have flourished and taken on a legitimate nature, which in turn encouraged
the construction of new illegal buildings.
Inadequacy of raising public awareness
Insufficient number of disaster management staff, conflicting goals between central
and local governments, lack of legislation with regards to inter-unit coordination and
scope of responsibility and authority.
Lack of exercise
Communication shortcomings among fire service, health departments, civil defense,
security forces and civilian management.
Planning measures for reducing physical planning risk damages have been neglected.
Lack of Avoidance Plan Implementation that considers geological data and urban risk
Shortcomings of meteorological forecasts, early warnings, planning and
A network of earthquake stations creating standard data, communication systems,
early warning systems, and national disaster information system have not been
established. Plans to implement such data have not been developed.
Lack of training in the fields of disaster risks and the mitigation of the risks of
Comprehensive urban transformation and recovery, retrofit and maintenance
programs have not been developed and implemented though there is a wide area
vulnerable to earthquake and the existing buildings are not resistant against
Resources are mainly concentrated on hazard mitigation and risk management in
disaster management. The disaster insurance system which can be used as a tool for
obtaining financial resource and building control is not developed at desirable levels,
188.8.131.52. Legal Problems
There are various proposals put forward by several institutions and organizations for
changes in legislation. As draft laws are developed separately from each other, there
occur considerable inconsistencies among them,
Illegally constructed buildings have been on the rise; planned construction sites have
not been determined both by local and central governments,
Reconstruction Law (3194) is devoid of implementing urban zoning and different
reconstruction regimes and Avoidance Plan that watches urban risks,
Lack of reconstruction legislation that effectively examines residential buildings and
newly built areas, lack of building examination system and job insurances,
Shortcomings of sanctions for the preparation and implementation of plans,
Seeking for consensus for immovable makes it impossible to undertake retrofitting,
It is obligatory to resort to the eighteenth article of Reconstruction Law for areas
bearing high risks for transformation, but existing legislation doesn’t allow this,
There is a strong need for code-enforcement and new regulations to direct complex
transformation processes that covers planning of high-risk areas, retrofit, renewal
and methods to increase the public response capacity to the disasters.
Some portion out of Obligatory Earthquake Insurance should be allocated for
damage mitigation investments, the Draft Law on this Insurance should be
rearranged for it to turn into a law.
Although a great deal of problems concerning the disaster management exist in
Turkey, there are also reasons to be optimistic about the near future regarding the
same issue. Above all, there is a community and public opinion that have understood
the significance of the issue thanks to the major examples experienced very recently.
Secondly, there is a political administration, which is able to exert a control over all
units concerning the disaster management; therefore it is quite possible to create a
complementary disaster management system acceptable by all the relevant
institutions and communities.
We are in an era when the economy of Turkey is gaining power, the Program of
Establishing the Strong Economy” is being implemented, the inflation rate is
reducing, and the growth is in a desirable level. These positive conditions offer
valuable opportunities so as to correct the current mistakes in disaster management
and to eliminate the deficiencies. In this relatively prosperous era of economic
stabilization, it will be possible to concentrate more on emergency activities as well
as creating positive circumstances to activate the hazard mitigation activities. It will
be easier to access the resources and available loans for preparing the urban micro-
zonation maps, revising the plans, examining the buildings, retrofitting the existing
buildings, preparing the action plans and transformation implementations.
On the other hand, the commitment of Turkey to be a member of the European
Union will require the prioritization of disaster management. This commitment
provides certain benefits with regards to the disaster management. It will be
inevitable for Turkey to increase the standards of urban security and quality within
the context of creating a community compatible with European society. In this field,
Turkey will have enough reasons to utilize the European resources for security
enhancement projects as well as allocating its own local resources and improving its
investment capacities. In addition, the institutional and legal systems as well as the
scientific methods and implementation experiences to be developed in Turkey will be
exemplary models for Europe. These opportunities should be taken into consideration
in a wide perspective. Even without being a member of EU, there are certain regional
funds that we can benefit by creating various projects. In this context, preparation of
Istanbul against earthquake as a concrete and prioritized example is a process that
assumes a planning including the development-culture-democracy components in
addition to the organization of the community life. This process requires the financial,
administrative, legal, social adjustments and trusting the society and accepting the
democracy as well as the EU standards.
Another opportunity is the rapidly growing technology. These technological
developments offer new opportunities for the pre-disaster and post-disaster period.
The institutional and legal structures should be formed while taking these
opportunities into consideration. Efficient communication and follow up activities that
effect the emergency management, remote sensing, space images, GPS devices,
smart systems and methods for storing, processing and requesting geographical
information, the integration of all these with computer technology, perform
successfully if utilized correctly. The same opportunities in hazard mitigation and risk
management bring with it the activities towards creating and processing data bases,
comprehensive planning, risk definition, creating smart systems and simulation,
efficient monitoring and control capacity. However, in order to take the advantage of
these technologies, it is necessary to adapt the administration and legislation.
In benefiting from the technological developments, one should avoid short term and
non-economic investments. The main approach should be aiming at the utilization of
common economical devices and systems approved by the community in general.
The elimination of problems that may arise in communication systems in case of
emergency, the development of supplementary infrastructures for emergency
management communication, the education of people to utilize the existing
resources in a more efficient manner and a more effective organization will enhance
In order to give an example about the relations between the technological
developments and organization, we can examine the communication systems of fire
departments established under the authority of municipalities, since these systems
are of vital importance in case of an emergency. These departments mostly utilize
municipal communication infrastructures. Here, all the frequency planning is done to
ensure that the adjacent residential public units would not affect each other.
Therefore, the wireless frequency of each district and city is peculiar to themselves.
As a result, there is even no link between the two adjacent district fire departments.
While the wireless infrastructures of district municipalities under the authority of
metropolitan municipalities operate in UHF Band, the wireless infrastructures of
district municipalities which are not under the authority of metropolitan municipalities
operate in VHF Band. This difference in system causes the difficulty in creating an
intersecting frequency for all fire departments.
Moreover, the frequency clash between health units, hospitals, ambulances, civil
defense units, TSK, security and research and rescue groups display the capacity
inefficiency. There is not a communication system among hospitals even in the
mega-cities like Istanbul and Ankara. Though a communication infrastructure exists
in some of the private health institutions, the overall direction of this infrastructure
by a central administration does not seem possible yet. The national communication
throughout the country is carried out by the 14 specially equipped command control
vehicles through the Ministry of Health. While reconsidering the disaster
management in a more comprehensive way, the opportunities towards
standardization of equipments, organization and personnel standards arise.
As the importance of risks emanating from earthquake hazard is understood more
and more, the urgency of urban renovation is understood better in addition to the
individual retrofitting activities. Here, a series of opportunities that are connected to
each other exist. In addition to mitigate the earthquake damages, other aspects of
collective urban renovation projects are the amendment of non-qualified and non-
esthetic urban environmental conditions, the improvement of the environmental
standards through urban design. The widespread comprehensive urban improvement
projects in an era of economic stability when the “program for transition to strong
economy” is implemented, constitute a great opportunity in terms of construction
sector which has multiple economic connections.
The widespread adoption of Compulsory Earthquake Insurance, the direction of
insurance incomes to the investments aiming at damage mitigation activities and
making the insurance system a must in real estate purchasing transactions could
contribute to the financing of risk mitigation activities.
Urban transformation, improvement, retrofitting portions should be larger in
Obligatory Earthquake Insurance Draft Law. There should be cooperation with
municipalities. Insurance premiums must be differentiated according to city micro-
zoning maps as well.
Condominium Law has the potential to mitigate risks in surroundings through their
controlling of hazards stemming from discordant buildings.
That residential areas are subject to the risks of natural disasters is not merely
because of natural hazards, but also because of unplanned construction and
urbanization. In order to have contemporary urbanization and residential areas, there
should be mentality change coupled with foregrounding of public interests through
distancing local government practices from conflicting interests. Legal, corporate
framework and supervisory mechanisms, transforming residential areas, particularly
cities, into safer places should constitute the essence of social and economic policies.
General Directorate of Disaster Affairs: “Türkiye Acil Durum Yönetimi Genel
Müdürlüğü’ne Devredilecek Fonksiyonlar Konusunda Uluslararası Danışmanın
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