Crowds gathered in the town of Golcuk on Monday to remember the tens of thousands of victims of Turkey’s 1999 Marmara earthquake.
At 3.02 a.m. local time (0002GMT) - the moment a powerful tremor began shaking Turkey’s northwestern region - people fell silent at the monument marking the 7.6-magnitude quake.
More than 18,000 lost their lives in Turkey’s worst earthquake since 1939 and 500,000 were left homeless as the earthquake ravaged a large swathe of heavily urbanized and industrialized Kocaeli, Sakarya and Istanbul provinces.
Golcuk Mayor Mehmet Ellibes, whose seaside town lost 6,000 inhabitants in the quake, said a “new Golcuk” had sprung from the ruins and the “necessary lessons” had been learned.
Turkish Red Crescent Director-General Ahmet Lutfi Akar told reporters that the quake prompted significant reform within the organization, which was criticized for its poor response to the disaster.
“Our disaster response systems have completely changed and were reorganized,” he said, pointing out the agency is now able to respond to any disaster in Turkey within two hours following the setting up of 33 response centers across the country.
The quake, which occurred on the North Anatolian Fault, left the city of Izmit severely damaged but also affected Istanbul, around 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Golcuk.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.