Istanbul signs up disaster doctors in online project

Istanbul disaster doctors$113,000 system will direct medics to hospitals in event of epidemic or natural disaster

Doctors in Istanbul have unveiled a new $113,000 web-based medical project to prepare Istanbul for the aftermath of an epidemic or natural disaster.

“The project is a web-based system which has been developed to direct specialist doctors to hospitals in disaster areas in the fastest way,” said project coordinator Omer Ozkan on Tuesday.

Hospitals will be able to determine the number of available doctors just after any disaster.

Speaking during a press conference in Istanbul, Ozkan said that they aimed to establish “systematic disaster management”.

“The project will firstly include state hospitals on the Asian side. If it succeeds, then we will put the project into practice on the European side of the city,” he added.

Istanbul Development Agency, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Disaster Coordination Center and Turkey’s Health Ministry have supported the scheme, which will include volunteer doctors who will register on the system via GPS.

“The system will be completed in 12 months and will cost 312,000 Turkish liras [$113,000],” project officer Ulas Vural said.

Istanbul is located on the North Anatolian Fault, one of the largest active faults in the world. Over the last 2,000 years, more than 30 earthquakes with magnitudes larger than seven have occurred in the region.

The most recent one, the Izmit earthquake, occurred in 1999; it had a magnitude of 7.4, and 18,000 people died. The epicenter was about 11 kilometers (seven miles) south of the city of Izmit, and some 80 kilometers (49.5 miles) from Istanbul.

According to experts, a big earthquake could happen at any moment in Turkey and the country has been carrying out projects to minimize the risks, with urban renewal happening across the country.


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