November 18, 2022
On November 18th, in the ancient city of Bursa, which is about an hour and a half drive from Istanbul, the project document (Record of Discussions) was signed for the commencement of the technical cooperation project, "Project for Earthquake Risk Reduction and Prevention Planning for Bursa Metropolitan Municipality". This project will support the formulation of Bursa's Urban Resilience Plan with the perspective of disaster risk reduction.
Similar to Japan, Türkiye is known to be an earthquake-prone country. For instance, Marmara and Kaynasli Earthquakes in 1999, Van Earthquake in 2011, and the Aegean Sea Earthquake in 2020 caused enormous damages on human lives and economy of the country. In recent years, other disasters such as the flooding and wildfires in 2021 has also occurred. The importance of "disaster risk reduction" to strengthen preparedness for future disasters including earthquakes is increasing.
Bursa, which was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, is not only a culturally and historically important city, but also the industry zones as the fourth largest city in Türkiye with a population of about 3 million people. On the other hand, with multiple tectonic plates in the underground, Bursa is located in the area with a high risk of earthquake.
Bursa Metropolitan Municipality aims to formulate the urban plan for each district with the perspective of disaster risk reduction, but the current plans do not sufficiently cover such risks. This technical cooperation project is aimed to formulate the Urban Resilience Plan, by taking into consideration of the promotion of understanding on hazard and risk assessment and adaptation to the existing urban planning. The project is expected to contribute to the disaster risk-based urban planning in the large city of Bursa.
Did you know that Bursa and Japan have a long history of cooperation in the area of disaster risk reduction?
In Bursa, there is a hands-on facility called the "Disaster Training Center". This facility was designed based on the Disaster Training Centers (Bosaikan) in Japan, partially similar to the "Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution" in Hyogo Prefecture. JICA also dispatched a Japanese expert to support the designing of the facility, and sent a Senior Volunteer to transfer experiences of Japan in the area of disaster training for the kids. Today, the center has become an iconic facility for disaster training in Türkiye, and many local students visit the center to learn about the disasters and emergency life-saving techniques.
"Disaster Training Center" in Bursa
Furthermore, Bursa was selected as one of the pilot provinces for JICA's past technical cooperation on the disaster risk reduction, namely "Capacity Development toward Effective Disaster Risk Management" (2013-2017). The project was aimed to implement the disaster risk assessment.
On November 9th, the signing ceremony was held for another technical cooperation project in the field of disaster risk reduction, the "Local Authorities Capacity Building for Waste Management, Pollution Control, and Disaster". The project is the first technical cooperation project in the field of disaster risk reduction in five years. Together with the upcoming technical cooperation project with Bursa Metropolitan Municipality, it is expected that cooperation between Türkiye and Japan on disaster risk reduction will further be strengthened and deepened in the coming years.