Expert of the Week   for  01 - 07 Sep 2014

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Murat Nurlu

Head, Earthquake Department

Prime Ministry, Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, Turkey - governement (AFAD) Expertise:  Earthquakes, Earthquake Risk Reduction, Seismology, Disaster Management, Seismo-tectonics.

Graduate of Geological Engineering Department from Hacettepe University, Dr. Nurlu worked as research assistant at Hacettepe University Department of Geology and received his Ph.D. Degree in 2002. He worked at several administrative positions at disaster management departments of Turkey. Dr. Nurlu has been Head of the Earthquake Department of AFAD since 2009. He has also worked as a project manager for several World Bank and National Development Projects.

Earthquake Risk Reduction at the National Level

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QQuestion by Mr Minhaj Ud Din

Dr, Murad Assalamoalikum, I am a student of Disaster Management in University of Peshawar Pakistan, My Question is that Can Earth Quake be predicted before it occur? If yes please Sir brief me the scientific method. thanks Regard Minhaj Uddin

Mr Minhaj Ud Din Students | Disaster Management

APosted on 07 Sep 2014

Dear Mr. Minjah Ud Din,

Earthquakes have been an important natural events for the mankind since apperance of the first civilizations. For this reason the humans not only tried to understand the reason why earth shakes, but also tried to find solutions in order to predict earthquakes. 

Earthquake prediction is  branch of seismology and many researchers  are studying on finding earthquake precursor. An actual earthquake prediction must provide the exact time of an event with exact magnitude, and location. Another important issue for earthquake prediction is the reliability of predictions. 

General acceptance among the seismologist is there is; no generally accepted earthquake prediction systems according to our today's knowledge on earthquakes. With recent advances on seismology, tectonics, geology, etc. we know the earthquake hazard zones and risk areas globally and locally. However, it is unfortunately impossible at the moment to predict earthquakes timely. But there are several ongoing efforts, projects on earthquake prediction. 

I think we have to get prepared for earthquakes by resisting our living environments and increasing the resiliency through trainings, public awareness campaings. We have to also develop more projects, increase the capacity of earthquake observation systems for the future. Those actions will, in the future,  contribute to earthquake prediction studies. 

Thanks for your question and thank you for raising this issue to the interest of Preventionweb web page visitors. 


QQuestion by Mr Cagdas Kockan

Dear Dr. Murat Nurlu,
Hi. This is Cagdas from The Ankara Disaster and Emergency Management Directory. I know that an eartquake will hit Istanbul as expected by scholars. What do you think about it? Hopefully, it willn't have the same as 1999

Mr Cagdas Kockan Civil Engineer | Ankara Provincial Directory of Disaster and Emerg

APosted on 06 Sep 2014

Dear Cagdas,

Many thanks for your question. 

Istanbul is a city that was rocked in its history several times by devastating earthquakes. Amongst them 1509 and 1766 events are amongst the most devastating ones and not only Istanbul city, but also its surounding cities have seriously damaged and many people lost their lives. 1509 earthquake is also known as “Lesser Judgement Day” by historians. 

Following 1999 Marmara earthquakes once again expected Istanbul earthquake has come to the agenda of all stakeholders working in the field of disaster management. Let's leave discussions on when and how big earthquake will strike Istanbul City to the academicians. From disaster managers point of view, we are aware that an earthquake with similar magnitudes occured previously will happen in Marmara Sea and will affect Istanbul. For this reason, many efforts have been accumulated in that region in order to better understand the earthquake phenomena of Marmara Sea, reduce earthquake related losses and create more resilient society. 

Today scientist are all agree that Marmara Sea is one of the best know region in terms of seismicity. Many efforts have been carried out by Turkish and International researchers and deserve admiration. In addition to the scientific efforts, public authorities, NGOs and private sector is striving in order to reduce earthquake related losses to minimum levels. Following 1999 earthquakes with a project called ISMEP, all govermental buildings, hospitals and schools are being retrofitted and re-built resistant to earthquakes in Istanbul. This project has taken a great interest from international communinity and this year with a close cooperation with UNISDR, those experiences on school safety will be shared with Balkan Countries. Istanbul Municipality with close cooperation with JICA has completed microzonation studies in Istanbul. With the robust coordination of AFAD, and with the support of all those units, there are a very intense public awareness programs in Istanbul in order to increase awareness and resilience. Urban Re-generation efforts implemented all around the country, will also make Istanbul more disaster resilient and secure city for the future. Another important topic for Istanbul is the protection of cultural heritage against the adverse affects of earthquakes and Ministry of Tourism, General Directorate of Foundations and many other units have very important efforts for the protection of those structures. 

There are several publications, project reports, thesis on those efforts. From the response and recovery points, Turkey has made very spectacular progress on those areas and is helping victims from all around the world and contributing countries by sharing our experience and know-how. 

I am impressed to see that young researchers have interest on the disaster management topics and would like to congragulate you. Please let us keep in mind that, like Istanbul, many other regions of Turkey are prone to earthquake hazard. We need to  distribute those experience to all around the country and as AFAD we are developing several projects for earthquake risk mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. 

I wish you success on your efforts in order to achieve disaster risk local level. 

Thanks for attention,

QQuestion by Mr hans woehry

Bis 2030, wird von Hr.Jordan Ryan, über 430 Billionen $ an Katastrophenschäden, vorausgesagt.
Umweltkatastrophen, wie Cyclone, Wirbelstürme,
Taifune, Hurrikans, Hyperkans, Orkane, Megastürme, Blitze, ich hab die einzigartige Lösung bisauf10% senk

Mr hans woehry Forscher | privat

APosted on 04 Sep 2014

Dear Mr. Hans Woehry,

I am sorry for not understanding German. If you could ask your question in English, I will have the pleasure to respond and this will be very welcomed. Sincerely.

QQuestion by Mr Bülent Özmen

Dear Murat Nurlu, As you know, Latest earthquake hazard map of Turkey is published in 1996.I think It is very old. When will You published new earthquake hazard map of turkey and what do you think about this subject. Thank you very much.

Mr Bülent Özmen Earthquake Implementation and Research Center | Gazi University

APosted on 01 Sep 2014

Dear Dr. Ozmen,

I would like to thank you for your special interest to this study. The first National Earthquake Zonning Map of Turkey was first issued in 1945 and revised in 1947, 1963, 1972 and finally issued in 1996 which is currently at force.  Different from others, The latest was prepared by considering the maximum lhorizontal ground acceleration with 475 years reccurence period. It's scale is 1/1.800.000 and came into force by the decision of Cabinet on April, 18th 1996. Earthquake Zonning Map of Turkey, which is earthquake hazard map at national level, and Legislation on the Constructions to be built on Earthquake Regions (Building Codes) dated 2007 are two legislations those complete each other. Construction legislations uses the ground acceleration data from the National Earthquake Zonning Map of Turkey. In addition, Natural Catastrophe Insurance Pool also uses this map when calculating the loan values where 5 respective earthquake zones have different calculation coefficient. 

As you have underlined in your question, there is an urgent need in order to revise the map considering the new data on faults and calculation methodologies have emerged. We have started a new project and planning to finish the new zonning map by the end of this year and the new map is expected bo become in force in 2015. Revisions on the construction legislation (building codes) is also continueing in paralel with mapping initiatives. 

I once again thank you for making this challenge a current issue and hope clarification are sufficient for the question you posed. Best Regards. 

QQuestion by Mr Dave Paul Zervaas

Dear Murat,

Taking into account the new strategies and planning to reduce risk in Turkey, would you have any indication of the expected reduction of losses when these new strategies are fully implemented ?

Mr Dave Paul Zervaas Programme Officer | UNISDR

APosted on 01 Sep 2014

Dear Paul, Many thanks for your interesting question and special interest to my session. I do not know if any strategy or plan of action can guarantee full reduction of losses. Actually, the new strategy that we are aiming to implement targets maximum reduction of losses in long term and secure sustainable development. As the Hyogo Framework has been in progress since 9 years, we have witnessed a substantial reduction of losses of lives whereas we are experiencing increasing economic and social losses due to disaster databases and inventories. Within the implementation of National Earthquake Strategy and Action Plan (UDSEP-2023), with other policy plans on sustainable development etc. in Turkey, we have received some robust progress on many actions. Please allow me to mention some of the achievements; Within this period Turkey started Urban Regenaration Programme in order to renovate old and vulneable building stock. The activities have been in progress in that area. One of the most important pillar of the risk reduction is the increase on public awareness. With other stakeholders, AFAD started a nation-wide campaign called “Disaster Prepared Turkey”. Until the mid of 2014, we have reached almost 1 million trained people and the numbers are increasing very rapidly. Establishment of National Earthquake Investigation Fund, Earthquake Data Center, Certification of Construction Workers, Compulsory Earthquake Insurance Pool are among the main achievements we reached until now. With political commitment on the policy document and active cooperation and contributions of all stakeholders, we are very optimistic in  achieving actions fort he future. Please have a look at to the UDSEP-2023 website to have an opinion about other actions planned until 2023. Finally, I can not whether it is possible to achieve the full reduction of losses after fully implementing the strategy or not but our target and motto is “Earthquake Resilient Turkey by 2023”. I think we will need to see the progress for the future.

Many thanks for your question once again.