Drastic changes are being made in Turkiye’s building regulations in the wake of the devastating earthquakes that hit the country in February.
A presidential decree announced new regulations will be set for rebuilding the areas affected by the devastating Turkiye-Syria earthquake. The new policies were published in the country’s Official Gazette on Feb. 24.
A 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit close to the town of Gazientep in the early hours of February 6. This was followed by many small, but still damaging aftershocks. It left more than 160,000 buildings in ruins or extensively damaged. Many of the said buildings housed 520,000 apartment units, leaving countless homeless or living in tents and container homes. The earthquake also claimed the lives of more than 45,000 residents.
Aside from the new building regulations, President Tayyip Erdogan also promised housing units will be rebuilt within a year.
The Presidential Decree stated that Turkish citizens and institutions can build residences and offices. These can then be donated to the country’s urbanization ministry. These new constructions will then be distributed to those affected by the earthquake.
The regulation also opens arid land and non-forest areas for construction. The usual procedures for planning and subdividing land will also be amended. In the new decree, the process will no longer need building objections and notifications.
The urbanization ministry will also determine resettlement areas, whether these are permanent or temporary. The allotment of areas will be based on their location vis-à-vis the fault line. It will also be determined by whether the ground is suitable for building. Its nearness to the settlement center will also be a factor.
The Turkish government’s move to allow new construction has given the earthquake survivors hope that they can begin building their ruined lives. At the very least, it has offered an answer to the question of where they would live. Many of the survivors have left the city. Others have moved to government-supported housing. Some are living in tents or container homes.
The new building regulations are expected to make the rebuilding process go faster. The donation of new offices and homes will also help thousands of people who were left with nothing after the earthquake.
The government has also considered the regulations’ impact on the environment. It has put in place precautions about demolition waste. For instance, these will be disposed of carefully. The government is looking to recycle them for other infrastructure needs. The utilization of non-forest land will also lessen the impact on the country’s environment.
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