DOI: 10.3390/app13158823 ISSN: 2076-3417

Debris Management in Turkey Provinces Affected by the 6 February 2023 Earthquakes: Challenges during Recovery and Potential Health and Environmental Risks

Spyridon Mavroulis, Maria Mavrouli, Emmanuel Vassilakis, Ioannis Argyropoulos, Panayotis Carydis, Efthymis Lekkas
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • General Engineering
  • Instrumentation
  • General Materials Science

On 6 February 2023, southeastern Turkey was struck by two major earthquakes that devastated 11 provinces. Tens of thousands of buildings collapsed and more were later demolished. During post-event field surveys conducted by the authors, several disposal sites set up in the most affected provinces were detected and checked for suitability. Based on field observations on the properties of sites and their surrounding areas as well as on the implemented debris management activities, it is concluded that all sites had characteristics that did not allow them to be classified as safe for earthquake debris management. This inadequacy is mainly attributed to their proximity to areas, where thousands of people reside. As regards the environmental impact, these sites were operating within or close to surface water bodies. This situation reveals a rush for rapid recovery resulting in serious errors in the preparation and implementation of disaster management plans. In this context, measures for effective debris management are proposed based on the existing scientific knowledge and operational experience. This paper aims to highlight challenges during earthquakes debris management and related threats posed to public health and the environment in order to be avoided in future destructive events.

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