On 01.05.2003 an earthquake of magnitude 6.4 occurred in Eastern Anatolia causing damage to hundreds of reinforced concrete (RC) and masonry buildings. Inspections carried out in the disaster area have given an idea about damage types and quality of concrete used in these buildings. The most interesting point is that lots of school buildings constructed within the last 5-6 years were damaged heavily. Poor concrete quality and poor reinforcement detailing caused damage in these structures. Although many are thought to be constructed according to renewed earthquake code in 1997, it is observed that in construction of collapsed or damaged buildings, code requirements and technical issues are ignored. Some tests after the earthquake showed that the quality of concrete in the damaged buildings is poorer than the one assumed in building projects. In this paper, reasons why the buildings were damaged in the 01.05.2003 earthquake in Bingol, Turkey are given. Some suggestions are made to prevent such disasters in the future. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.