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Natural disasters

Turkey earthquake raises questions on megacity Istanbul's readiness

Houses built in cheap, quick and unsafe fashion at risk of collapse

A view of residential areas in the Asian side of Istanbul, Turkey. The city is known to be earthquake prone.   © Reuters

ISTANBUL -- When earthquakes hit, geology experts time the tremors to judge the damage they will inflict. Most end in a few seconds. The January 1995 earthquake in Kobe that killed over 6,000 people lasted around 15 seconds.

On Feb. 6, southern Turkey first shook for 65 seconds, then 45, officials said. A lifetime by earthquake standards.

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