In what’s left of Antakya, a once-thriving and cosmopolitan tourist destination in the southeastern edge of Turkey, the streets seem weirdly quiet. Buildings stand askew at odd angles or are completely toppled, and the rubble from the homes of people who lived inside of them is neatly collected into piles and mounds.
These piles of trash, a strange amalgamation of concrete and wire, shards of glass and blankets, toys and other small remnants of lives interrupted, seem to outnumber intact structures here in Antakya, the epicenter of a string of earthquakes that began with a 7.8-magnitude temblor on Feb. 6.
The impact on human life is unquestioned, but numerous sources suggest that a combination of governmental reforms that didn’t work, corruption and lax enforcement of existing building codes, as well as poor construction practices in many building projects created a perfect storm that made the situation much worse.
“The whole system is responsible for the outcome of this disaster,” said Mehmet Akdogan, director of Miyamoto Protek, a joint venture between Ankara -based Protek-Yapi, where Akdogan is CEO, and U.S.-based Miyamoto International. The two international firms are teaming to provide engineering expertise in response to the disaster.