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Published October 24, 2011, 07:07 PM

Turkey Native, UND Professor Reacts to Massive Quake

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - At least 279 people have been killed and hundreds are missing after Sunday's massive earthquake in Turkey.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - At least 279 people have been killed and hundreds are missing after Sunday's massive earthquake in Turkey.

A UND professor from Turkey says he is lucky his family didn't live in the affected region and are safe, but he does blame the Turkish government for not enforcing building codes that could have prevented some deaths.

Nuri Oncel is a physics professor at UND. He says he found out about Sunday's quake from Turkish websites.

"These are my people, could be my family too. It's maybe family of my friend," Oncel said.

Oncel says he was lucky his family and friends live in a different region of the country, though his thoughts are with those families dealing with the aftermath.

He says many of the deaths could have been prevented if the government enforced earthquake building codes.

"It's easy to applly these rules in a western society, but most of the time in Turkey, especially in rural regions, government doesn't work that effective," Oncel said.

Oncel says only about 70 percent of the buildings in Turkey meet the standards that prevent a building from collapsing in a magnitude of Sunday's earthquake. That is a big concern in a earthquake-prone country like Turkey.

"It's like a train coming at you. You are just sitting and waiting on the railroad and staring at it. That is exactly what it is," Oncel said.

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