Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Turkish president vows action after fatal building collapse

In August Turkey’s emergency management agency AFAD warned that up to 30,000 people could be killed in Istanbul if a magnitude-7.5 earthquake were to hit the city of 15 million Fears for 30 trapped in rubble of fallen Istanbul flats
Melinda Barton | 11 February, 2019, 09:30

He said the government will take "steps in a determined way" after investigators complete their work.

"The number of those who lost their lives has climbed to 15", Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said, quoted by Hurriyet newspaper and DHA news agency.

Turkey's president helped carry the coffin of one of the victims of the apartment building collapse in Istanbul today as the death toll hit 17.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, meanwhile, told reporters that the toll from the building collapse had risen to 21 dead and 14 injured.

"Those who are responsible will be held to account", Soylu said.

The girl, Havva Tekgoz, was pulled from the debris about 18 hours after the building in the mostly residential Kartal district, on the Asian side of the city, collapsed.

Erdogan is also visiting a hospital where more than a dozen people are being treated.

Turkish media said three of the eight floors had been illegally built - a relatively common practice in the metropolis of some 15 million people.

However, top three floors of the building were built illegally, the governor added.

Rescue teams were last night still searching the rubble of an apartment block in Istanbul after a local official warned that there could have been as many as 30 people inside when it collapsed on Wednesday.

Thirty residents were inside the building, which contained 14 apartments, when it collapsed Wednesday, Anadolu said.

The collapse fanned criticism of a government amnesty granted a year ago to people accused of illegal building - a measure announced ahead of municipal elections this March.