How not to do seismic safety

Bird's eye View of Old Delhi.

Image by ~FreeBirD®~ via Flickr

An AP news article provides details about an ominous threat: Delhi ignores own quake peril warnings; January 25, 2012, Here is the lead in:

The ramshackle neighborhoods of northeast Delhi are home to 2.2 million people packed along narrow alleys. Buildings are made from a single layer of brick. Extra floors are added to dilapidated buildings not meant to handle their weight. Tangles of electrical cables hang precariously everywhere.

If a major earthquake were to strike India’s seismically vulnerable capital, these neighborhoods – India’s most crowded – would collapse into an apocalyptic nightmare. Waters from the nearby Yamuna River would turn the water-soaked subsoil to jelly, which would intensify the shaking.

The Indian government knows this and has done almost nothing about it.

One thought on “How not to do seismic safety

  1. There was an excellent presentation re the likelihood of urban earthquakes by a representative of the World Bank at the recent International Disaster Conference and Expo in New Orleans. The speaker made two important points:
    • Just as coastal disasters are more likely because we are building on our coasts, urban earthquakes are more likely because more and more cities are located on faults. He cited Khartoum, and several of the new Chinese mega-cities as examples.
    • We haven’t learned how to tailor our humanitarian response to urban earthquakes as well as we have some other types of disasters.
    I’ll be posting a blog on the meeting next week on the CARRI site (

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