Shopping malls built in 416 of Istanbul’s 493 disaster assembly areas

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said shopping malls had been built in 416 of the 493 places in Istanbul designated as disaster assembly areas, Diken news site reported on Wednesday. 

A CHP report said the total amount of land occupied by shopping malls in Turkey had increased by 900 percent between 2002 and 2017 and reached 11.2 million square metres. 

Figures supplied by the Turkish Chamber of Construction Engineers Istanbul Branch also confirmed the number of disaster assembly locations in the city had decreased to 77.

Fears over the consequences of a serious earthquake in Istanbul resurfaced after an eight-storey apartment building collapsed in the city’s Kartal district last week, killing 21 people.

For the last two decades, scientists have repeatedly warned that Turkey’s largest city, which hosts more than 15 million people and is located on the north Anatolian seismic fault, could be hit by an earthquake of magnitude 7 or greater. 

According to the country's Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), there are 2,354 assembly areas in Istanbul, including children’s parks, mosque courtyards, and even gas stations, Diken said.
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