Evaluation of Post-Disaster Temporary Housing Units in the Context of COVID-19: The Case of 1999 Marmara Earthquakes

Evaluation of Post-Disaster Temporary Housing Units in the Context of COVID-19: The Case of 1999 Marmara Earthquakes

Çetin Süalp, Elif Yapıcı
DOI: 10.4018/IJDIBE.306256
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Disasters affecting the whole world in different ways and degrees may happen at any time – even simultaneously – need to be reconsidered, especially so at the moment of writing (early in the 21st century) under the shadow of an ongoing pandemic. Earthquakes (occurring at a higher level now in Turkey) should be discussed within this pandemic context; preventative measures require to be put in place as well as disaster management plans. This paper focuses on temporary housing design: a crucial aspect in any anticipated extension of rehabilitation and reconstruction periods. It has taken the Marmara Earthquakes (1999) as a case study. Criteria are defined based on limiting the rate of infection and motivating people to stay indoors, and are weighted using a multi-criteria decision-making method called Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). The plans of the various house-types have been evaluated within this framework: the data developed is based on the temporary housing design and a correlation established between their ability to stand up to pandemic conditions and the sizes of the units.
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Disasters, those situations or events that overwhelm a local capacity to cope and necessitate a request at the national or international level for external assistance, are almost by definition unforeseen and often sudden, causing great damage, destruction, and human suffering (UNSD, 2008). They may be categorized into two broad types: by the duration of occurrence (rapidly or over time) or by their cause(s) (geophysical, meteorological, technological, anthropogenic). These causes typically have a domino effect (an earthquake can induce a flood, and either/both can cause a pandemic) and can be readily related to human actions at the political, social, environmental and economic levels (Ergünay, 2009). In Turkey, the second most frequent kind of disaster is the earthquake, which negatively effects some 55 percent of those involved, higher than the levels seen with other natural disasters (Gökçe et al., 2008). Population increases, intense migration to city centres, and uncontrolled settlements lacking planned urbanization processes are some of the more indirect results of these disasters (Ergünay, 2007).

Natural disasters can seriously interrupt or change the flow of daily life: this is so with Covid-19, which pandemic has revealed major issues concerning environmental quality, socio-economic impacts, management and governance strategies, transportation and urban design issues (Sharifi et al., 2020). These are the inevitable realities of 21st century living, with a high probability of several occurring all at the same time. Although the impact of an earthquake on the built environment varies according to the distance from epicenter, soil type, and structural typologies of the buildings (adobe masonry, wooden frame or reinforced concrete frame), according to the MSK (Medvedev-Sponheur-Karnik) intensity scale earthquakes with a magnitude of 5 and above can be expected to cause minor, moderate or heavy damage to existing structures (Tabban & Gençoğlu, 1975). Scanning the earthquake data, there have been 19 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5 and above in Turkey since March 2020 (since the pandemic started), but 18 of these were between 5 and 6 with one (2020 Aegean Sea earthquake, Mw 6.6) between 6 and 7 magnitude (1900 - 20xx Deprem Kataloğu, n.d.). Further, there have occurred globally 2206 earthquakes of 5 and above in 2021 alone (USGS, n.d.). Therefore, both in Turkey and worldwide, disaster management, and especially in pandemic conditions, needs urgent attention.

Disaster management is a multidimensional-multiphase process: it involves both preparation before disaster and coordination or logistic operations afterward. Governmental, inter-governmental, or non-governmental organizations of countries (often in collaboration with the military or private sector) work to help victims to return to their daily lives by providing them with emergency shelters during the immediate relief period, temporary shelters and houses during rehabilitation and reconstruction periods, and permanent houses when reconstruction is completed (Quarantelli, 1995; UNDRO, 1982). In this process, the use of temporary houses may last for years, depending on the reconstruction phase’s extension (Limoncu & Bayülgen, 2005). Therefore, precautions required to tackle any pandemic aspects should be undertaken proportionately because of the potentially lengthy amount of time of the process (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

The dendrogram of the post-disaster management phases (Grey areas are those focused upon in the study)


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