Prosecutors launch probe into collapse of Van hotels

November 14, 2011, Monday/ 11:41:00/ TODAYSZAMAN.COM

An investigation has been launched into the collapse of two hotels in the eastern province of Van, which were knocked down in a moderate quake that hit the province last week following last month's powerful tremor.  

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake leveled the Bayram Hotel and the Aslan Hotel last Wednesday, killing more than 30 people.

Following the quake, claims emerged that the loss of more than 30 lives in the magnitude 5.6 earthquake, less than a month after another, more powerful quake, is the result of negligence by authorities after the first quake. Reports from the region and experts said it was a known fact that the Bayram Hotel, which was damaged during the first earthquake, was still open and had 32 guests when the quake hit on Wednesday.

The Van Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation into the negligence claims on Monday. Officials have begun taking samples from the rubble of the two hotels.

The immediate aftermath of the quake indicated that Wednesday's magnitude 5.6 earthquake was more damaging than the one that registered 7.2 on Oct. 23, although the death toll was much lower because of the fact that most of the residents had been evacuated from their buildings. In the first earthquake, eight buildings collapsed in central Van, compared to a total of 25 buildings in Wednesday's earthquake. Some 650 people died in the two earthquakes.

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