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Tuesday, August 31, 1999 Published at 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK

World: Europe

Quake cities relocation plan

Some devastated cities are considering a drastic solution

Turkish officials are considering abandoning some of the cities worst hit by the earthquake which devastated the north of the country.

Turkey Earthquake
Thousands died in the massive earthquake two weeks ago and tremors have continued to hit the region.

In one of the largest aftershocks, on Tuesday, one person was killed by falling debris and more than 100 were injured in Izmit and the nearby town of Dernice.

The tremor was also felt in Adapazari, where 75% of the buildings have been damaged, either by the original earthquake on 17 August or the aftershocks.

Adapazari provincial governor Ahmet Vefik Tekerek said: "Maybe we just can't fix it. It's possible we will choose to leave this city."

Other ravaged Turkish towns - such as the Sea of Marmara port of Golcuk where a naval base that was the town's lifeblood was destroyed - may face the same fate.

Living in rubble

Adapazari, 100 miles east of Istanbul, lies directly along the North Anatolian fault line.

Ankara Correspondent Chris Morris: "Relocation may be a better plan than reconstruction"
Before 17 August it was a bustling industrial centre. Now an estimated 65,000 buildings are destroyed or so damaged as to be unusable.

Rubble litters the streets and tens of thousands of people are living in tents and makeshift shelters.

The local death toll stands at more than 2,500 but hundreds more bodies are believed to be still buried in the destruction.

No decision has been made for relocation yet and no plans for sites have been publicly discussed.

There are strong arguments for and against such a decision.

Fear of inaction

[ image: Adapazari: Deciding where its future lies]
Adapazari: Deciding where its future lies
Those in favour of a move say it will be safer. They question whether it was right to rebuild Adapazari in 1967 after it was nearly levelled by a powerful 7.2-magnitude quake in 1967.

They say the domino effect of damaged buildings leading to lost business and services could reduce the city's ability to survive and that a quick move would be better in the long term.

Others argue that the earthquake hit such a large area that even moving miles away can not guarantee a safe future.

And they question whether the Turkish authorities are up to arranging a mass relocation.

But both sides fear inaction - and living amid the destruction while a decision is made on whether to stay or go.

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