Most bldgs in urban India vulnerable to quakes: NDMA

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New Delhi, Sept 22: The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) claimed that 68 percent of India's urban population is in danger due to poorly designed buildings which are vulnerable to earthquakes.

“There are 344 towns which fall in the Zone 5 category (high risk category) making them amongst the most damage prone cities in the planet," said Shashidhar Reddy, vice-chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority.

Cities like Delhi, Patna, Thane, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Meerut and Faridabad, which have a population of over 2 lakh comes under the Zone 4 category, which means they still won't be able to withstand a quake.

NDMA also revealed that most of the India's buildings are not built to resist earthquakes. “Only three per cent of buildings use concrete while 85 per cent of buildings are using brick and stone with no steel reinforcements," said Mr. Reddy. A recent NDMA national survey revealed that even a city like Ahmadabad do not have seismic retro-fitting in new buildings.

"India"s 8.22 lakh engineers and architects in India, only 14,700 admit to being trained in safe seismic engineering. From an estimated 32 lakh masons, only 34,000 were found to have any knowledge of seismic design."

“The tectonic plates in the entire Himalayan range, stretching from J&K to the Northeast, are constantly moving and earthquakes will continue to occur but vulnerability to earthquakes has increased due to our population growth," Mr Reddy added.

Relating to the recent Sikkim quake, Reddy said that the population density of northern district of Mangan was 10 per square kilometer while in east Delhi population density was 37,000 per square kilometer.

“Over 23,000 people died between 1990-2006 due to six major earthquakes in India, including Bhuj and Latur. Earthquakes are the only disaster where there is little prior warning," he said.

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