|Disasters Preparedness and Mitigation - Issue No. 18 - January, 1984 (PAHO)|
We publish the following abstract of a letter in the hopes that those of our readers who have information and experience in this area will contact the author. When writing, please do so through Dr. Jones, WHO/EURO, 8 Scherfigsvej, Copenhagen, Denmark.
On October 30, an earthquake of 7.1 magnitude occurred in the eastern provinces of Erzurum and Kars. This is a cold mountainous region. The winter temperature falls below -35C. Construction is for this reason made of broken stone joined by a plain mud paste that does not have a good sealing quality. The roofs are supported by fragile posts of native wood that are imbedded in the walls of the houses, some of which are up to 60 to 80cms thick. The roofs are flat, and made of local clay, with a thickness of 1.5m or more to provide protection against the cold.
This kind of construction naturally collapsed, causing the death of 1333 persons, leaving several thousand injured and 35,000 homeless. Material damages were heavy in 115 shepherd villages where approximately 25,000 head of cattle and sheep were lost, in addition to the destruction of housing and human and animal food stocks.
I am interested in technologies for housing construction that make use of local materials but will ensure greater structural safety. I would like to request that through you, I might come in contact with persons who have experience in this field, in order to better assist the government of Turkey in the reconstruction effort.
José Oltio Espinoza
WHO Sanitary Engineer
PHC Project Coordinator
PK 235, Yenisehir