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10 Dead in Istanbul Apartment Building Collapse

10 Dead in Istanbul Apartment Building Collapse

Thursday, 7 February, 2019 - 17:30
Rescuers at the collapsed building in Istanbul. AP
Asharq Al-Awsat
The death toll from the collapse of an eight-story building in Istanbul rose to 10 on Thursday, while 13 others were injured, the governor's office for the Turkish city said, as rescuers worked around the clock looking for more survivors.

The residential building, in the Kartal district on the Asian side of the city, collapsed on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear why the building had collapsed.

More bodies were pulled from the rubble on Thursday afternoon raising the death toll to 10, the office of Governor Ali Yerlikaya said in a statement. It said 13 others, including a five-year-old girl, were injured.

There were 43 people registered in 14 apartments at the address, but the top three floors of the building had been built illegally, the governor said on Wednesday. He said there was a textile workshop operating without a license at the entrance.

Initial footage from the incident showed people being pulled out of the rubble as crowds surrounded the site. Seven buildings around the collapse site have been evacuated for security reasons.

Wednesday's incident has put a spotlight on illegal construction and raised alarms over the scope of possible destruction should a large earthquake hit the city.

Neighbor Cemile Dag said the collapse brought to mind haunting images from a deadly earthquake that hit northwestern Turkey in 1999, destroying thousands of homes.

"At first I thought a gas tank had exploded in our building. I looked behind me and the building, like a deck of cards, fell to the ground. There were wails, screaming," she said.

Dag added: "People are gone... Just like that disaster during the earthquake, this is the same."

Can Akin, of the Chamber of Geology Engineers, told The Associated Press that many buildings in Istanbul were built without an adequate investigation of the ground conditions.

"Istanbul is situated on a seismic belt," Akin said. "In the event of an earthquake in Istanbul, we could be faced with a dire picture."

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