The association of civil engineers on Monday sounded the alarm over the potential for severe damage and even loss of life in the event of a powerful earthquake, due to the fact that many buildings in Cyprus may not be structurally sound.

In a statement, the association began by conveying condolences to the families of the victims of the 7.8 quake that shook Turkey and Syria in the early morning hours of the day. At least 2,400 people have been confirmed dead so far.

The civil engineers said that the old age of many buildings in Cyprus, the “absence of an upkeep culture,” and the fact that a large number of buildings had been designed and constructed before the implementation of the 1994 Anti-Earthquake Regulation, significantly raises risks in the event of seismic activity.

They added that, given that Cyprus is often affected by earthquakes – catastrophic or not – they are once again calling for the earthquake-proofing of buildings.

The association called on the state to ensure implementation of mandatory structural stability checks on buildings, with priority given to public buildings.

According to data released by the Statistical Service in 2019, at the time nearly half of the houses in Cyprus were built before 1994 when the law on mandatory anti-seismic surveys was passed.