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Iran's Housing minister says majority of high-rises immune against quake

Housing and Urban Development Minister Ali Abdolalizadeh said in Tehran on Saturday the majority of residential high-rises in the country are immune to earthquake, assuring the residence of safe living in the structures, IRNA reported.

Speaking at a housing seminar, Abdolalizadeh told reporters that Tehran high-rises are strong against tremors. "I am not too worried about the quality of construction in the capital city," he added.

However, he voiced concern on housing structures in central and southern areas of Tehran "as being vulnerable to quakes." Bringing them up to standards will take about 20 years, the housing minister stated.

He said if the housing construction trend continues in the country, -estimated to exceed one million units by 2006- "then all constructed units will be quake-proof by 2021."

Adolalizadeh said discussions are underway with several domestic insurance companies to insure housing structures for 10-years against natural disasters and construction-related damages.

Iran sits on some of the world's active seismic faultlines and tremors of mild magnitude are almost a daily occurrence.

An earthquake expert said last month that based on seismological studies carried out in Tehran, an earthquake comparable to the recent one that hit Japan will cause material losses higher than the gross domestic product (GDP).

Farid Mehdian added that such tremor will cause close to 500,000 deaths, and two million injuries and render six million people homeless.

He added that an activation of 'Ray' faultline will cause 55 percent of Tehran buildings to be either destroyed or severely damaged.

... Payvand News - 1/18/04 ... --

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