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Hospitals to be strengthened in Turkish seismic upgrade

TURKEY FACES a bill of more than $91M for strengthening 50 of its major hospitals, according to the first phase results of a large scale seismic study.

The news comes as the US Geological Survey this week up-rated its assessment of earthquake risk in the Istanbul area to 62% in the next 30 years.

The multi-phase study of hospitals in the Istanbul and Izmit regions by consultant Owen Williams began in July 1998. This was before the devastating Koacaeli earthquake last year which hit the region south of Istanbul, killing 17,000 people and injuring 44,000.

'We have been looking at over 450 buildings making up 56 hospital complexes, ' said Benzir Hassan, principal engineer for the study, which has been carrying out the World Bank funded study in joint venture with John Laing.

'Most of them need major strengthening.' Many are reinforced concrete designs and problems range from poor construction quality to inadequate design, often to older design codes which provide insufficient strength.

Modifications have created 'soft storeys', said Hassan, responsible for much damage; there is inadequate separation between structures to prevent seismic 'crashing' and bad detailing.

The team is continuing with design work and is awaiting funding for the repairs.

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