Evacuation ships to wait at sea off Istanbul in case of major quake

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With a plan prepared by Interior Ministry in collaboration with several concerned agencies, evacuation ships will stay at sea off Istanbul to take earthquake victims out of the province in case of a possible major earthquake expected in the Marmara region.

The plan for Istanbul, one of Turkey’s most populated cities with 16 million inhabitants, has been prepared together by the Interior Ministry, the Istanbul Governor’s Office, Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) and the provincial gendarmerie command.

The plan proposes four ways of evacuation, including sea, air, land and railway routes, in case a 7.5-magnitude earthquake hits the region.

“There are 23 evacuation centers in Istanbul. First, we will gather people to these centers,” Metin Günal, the gendarmerie colonel told national TV broadcaster TRT.

The plan has marked some 18 cities in Turkey’s west, east and south regions as “supporting provinces.”

“As the second step, we will evacuate people from Istanbul to these ‘supporting cities’ by using all means of transportation,” Günal added.

According to the plan, the first evacuation line is the sea route to evacuate people from earthquake-hit regions.

Officials have identified six ferry docks, including Sirkeci, İstinye, Zeytinburnu, Yenikapı, Harem and Pendik, as “seaway evacuation centers.” People will be brought to these centers and then transferred to ships waiting off the shore to evacuate them safely.

According to the TRT report, the stations of Yeşilköy, Halkalı and Tuzla will be the major centers for the “railway evacuation line.”

Within the scope of the plan, bus terminals in Esenler, Alibeyköy, Samandıra and Harem have been selected as the four main “land route emergency exits.”

Also, the three airports of the city, Istanbul, Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen, will be used as evacuation centers via air.

According to the plan, disabled and handicapped people will be given the top priority in the evacuation process, followed by women, children and the elderly. The “supporting provinces” that will host the earthquake victims after the evacuation have been set in two groups.

In the first group, there are 11 cities from western, southern and central Turkey: Balıkesir, Eskişehir, Ankara, Manisa, İzmir, Afyonkarahisar, Konya, Antalya, Denizli, Samsun and Kayseri.

The second group includes seven cities which are from Turkey’s east and north regions: Adana, Gaziantep, Malatya, Trabzon, Diyarbakır, Erzurum and Erzincan.

Hurriyet Daily News

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