The city that didn’t collapse: Earthquake survivors flock to Erzin

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ERZIN, Turkey — Loss of life and destruction encompass Erzin.

However this tiny metropolis in Turkey’s southern Hatay province is an oasis of security and normality whereas life all through the area has been overturned by last week’s earthquake.

Residents and officers say Erzin suffered no deaths and saw no buildings collapse within the highly effective temblor, and so they credit score a long-standing dedication to not enable construction that violated the country’s codes.

Beyaz Yalcin was one of many fortunate ones.

She was in Erzin along with her 4 younger kids when the quake struck, moderately than at residence in close by Gaziantep.

Yalcin, 33, has not returned residence. She doesn’t know if her home remains to be standing or if, like so many in Gaziantep and all through the area, it has been diminished to rubble.

“I’m in shock. I don’t wish to face the identical state of affairs once more,” she stated.

Yalcin shouldn’t be the one one staying on this city out of worry.

Five year old Vahit Yalcin, who is staying in Erzin with his mother Beyaz having fled their home town of Gaziantep.
5 12 months previous Vahit Yalcin, who’s staying in Erzin together with his mom Beyaz having fled their residence city of Gaziantep.Kristina Jovanovski

Emre Tibikoglu, 39, who has been working for the municipality for six years, stated he believed 20,000 folks had flocked to Erzin because the earthquake, a few 50% enhance within the city’s inhabitants. 

“We all know we’re in an earthquake space,” he stated, citing the insistence of the present mayor and former ones to not enable buildings that failed to fulfill building codes to be put up.

Tibikoglu stated that every time officers realized there have been buildings that had been illegally constructed, they might get them taken down.

“Some native folks had been actually mad about it,” he stated of the residents dwelling in these buildings. However he stated the mayor held agency on his determination, figuring out {that a} main earthquake might come sooner or later.

Tibikoglu stated he was unsure why different municipalities didn’t do the identical, however suspected there might have been connections between native politicians and contractors, and stated extra stringent authorities laws might have restricted such a large-scale tragedy.

Emre Tibikoglu works for the Erzin municipality and was overseeing efforts at the donation center earlier this week.
Emre Tibikoglu works for the Erzin municipality and was overseeing efforts on the donation middle earlier this week.Kristina Jovanovski

He stated there are additionally no high-rise buildings in Erzin, lowering the dangers, although he stated that he had heard some buildings within the city had been broken to the purpose that it was unsafe for folks to stay there. The city could have escaped the devastation of the neighboring areas, however the 7.8-magnitude quake was felt nonetheless.

Engineers in Turkey had been elevating fears over poorly constructed buildings for years, given the nation’s vulnerability to large earthquakes. Considerations solely grew after a 2018 legislation supplied amnesty for buildings with unlawful building, permitting them for use so long as the homeowners paid a high quality to the state.

The federal government has vowed an intensive investigation and ordered the detention of greater than 100 folks over collapsed buildings, although opposition teams have accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of failing to make sure that laws had been correctly enforced whereas anger has grown over the difficulty.

In cities farther from the epicenter, in addition to these shut by like Osmaniye, simply 12 miles away from Erzin, houses have been diminished to rubble and people who survived are nonetheless struggling to get support. 

Some have left for Erzin, searching for shelter with relations.

Mountains and hills encompass Erzin, one thing that locals imagine has protected them.

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