Mega-Cities in Earthquake Zones Await Disaster

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Construction at the Atakoy Lisesi school.  Istanbul has a program to secure its schools against earthquakes.

As Mustafa Erdik, the director of an earthquake engineering institute in Istanbul, surveys the streets of this sprawling mega-city, he says he sometimes feels like a doctor scanning a crowded hospital ward.

It is not so much the city’s modern core, where two sleek Trump Towers and a huge airport terminal were built to withstand a major earthquake that is considered all but inevitable in the next few decades. Nor does Dr. Erdik agonize over Istanbul’s ancient monuments, whose yards-thick walls have largely withstood more than a dozen potent seismic blows over the past two millenniums.

 

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