Aerial imagery from the Turkish government shows astonishing destruction in Antakya near where a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck on Feb. 6. The damage is so profound that officials estimate that 80 percent of the city’s remaining buildings will need to be demolished.
About 3,100 buildings collapsed in Antakya, trapping residents and killing more than 20,000 people in the city, Lutfu Savas, the metropolitan mayor, said on Feb. 19.
Before the earthquake, multistory apartment buildings filled the more modern part of Antakya on the west side of the Asi River. Most were built in the 20th century, largely before modern earthquake codes were put in place.
Experts think several factors made Antakya’s buildings more vulnerable, including poor building design and dense housing, as well as the city's proximity to a fault and position along the river.
“All the soil near the river is sediment, the materials carried by the river over thousands of years,” said Mehmet Cemal Genes, an associate professor of engineering at Eastern Mediterranean University. “It is very soft.”