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Experts warn of heavy quake losses in Tehran

Tehran, Feb 18, IRNA -- A member of the scientific Board of International Earthquake Engineering Research Center Mrs. Shadi Azizi said here Tuesday that Iran is among the most earthquake-prone countries in the world.

She said many earthquakes have inflicted huge damage to the country over years.

Speaking at a seminar on building construction in Tehran, she highlighted the need for constructing strong and anti-quake buildings in the capital.

Azizi also lamented the lack of attention to prevention of damage from natural disasters, saying focusing instead only on rehabilitation was "a misguided approach towards urban planning."

Another expert, Head of Tehran Earthquake Research Center Farid Mahdian, said that the activation of 'Ray' faultline "will lead to the destruction of over 90 percent of this southern Tehran suburb."

In general, the southern part of the capital city is vulnerable to tremors due to the existence of a soft ground, high buildings and population density, and narrow and congested streets, he said.

"In case of an earthquake, this Tehran district will witness catastrophic losses of human life," Mahdian added.

"Activation of the faultline will also herald one of the strongest earthquakes in the world," he said.

He further warned of extended losses in the event of a major earthquake "due to lack of adequate safety percussions in buildings."

Iran is situated on a seismic faultline and several seismologists predict a major earthquake may strike Tehran.

The Majlis earlier in the year delegated a special committee to coordinate the actions of various organizations against a possible earthquake in Tehran.

The decision was taken in a meeting of lawmakers from Tehran province with officials from the interior, science, research and technology, housing and urban development ministries, Iran's Red Crescent Society (IRCS), Tehran City Council and the municipality.

Head of the International Seismographic Research Center affiliated to the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, Mohsen Ghafouri Ashtiyani said that according to specialized studies, the faultlines around Tehran are sliding and gathering energy and there is a strong likelihood of an earthquake striking the Iranian capital.

"On the basis of the studies, the probability of a quake above seven degrees on the Richter scale in the next 10 years currently stands at 65 percent and this is expected to increase with the passing of time," he said.

Referring to the fact that buildings in Tehran are incapable of withstanding a probable earthquake, the official strongly criticized the inappropriate construction patterns in the 10-million city.

... Payvand News - 2/19/03 ... --

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