Poor State of School Buildings Due to Decades of Neglect

North Cyprus News - Famagusta Classroom Ceiling Collapse
[Ceiling collapses in Famagusta school – File Photo]
Tuesday, 31 October 2023

Preparatory work, planning and the requirement for new building regulations are the cause of delays to rebuilding or reinforcing school buildings which are not earthquake proof, head of the Cyprus Turkish Contractors Association (KTİMB) Cafer Gürcafer said, Kibris Postasi reports.

The safety of school buildings in the TRNC has been an ongoing problem for the past 50 years, he emphasised.

Gürcafer stated that no work has been done in the country to date regarding earthquake readiness and said, “Therefore, we started the work to strengthen the schools from scratch”. Gürcafer stated that no one should expect the accumulated problems of 50 years to be eliminated in 3 months; this is not possible.

He said project work began after the disastrous earthquake which occurred in Turkey on 6 February. This covers 20 schools in North Cyprus which are ready to go to the bidding phase.

We are working on making changes in the legislation to overcome the problems that we have encountered. What is important is to establish the system. After establishing the system, these works will proceed very quickly. We need a little more time to regulate the legislation. We are working on them“, Gürcafer said.

He also emphasised that the costs of building reinforcement have not been included in the unit prices of the Planning and Construction Department so far, saying, “That’s why we got information from Turkey. We are trying to adapt the information we have obtained to our own regulations“.

Gürcafer said, “The responsibility for the problems that occurred lies neither us nor the current minister“, and stated that anyone who has turned a blind eye to these problems until now is responsible.

He emphasised that building reinforcement works have not been made a priority for years, saying, “We cannot afford to blame each other, there is an earthquake factor threatening us. Our schools need to be reinforced as soon as possible“.

Gürcafer stated that significant progress will be made in terms of strengthening school buildings within six months, and added, “It may take two years to complete all of these works. However, we will save a significant portion of the schools in six months“.

Kibris Postasi

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