Lessons from Ker­man­shah earth­quake

Tehran Times - - FRONT PAGE -

The earth­quake in the west­ern prov­ince of Ker­man­shah late on Sun­day teaches us im­por­tant lessons.

On the one hand it shows that Iran has made great pro­gresses in the face of very strong earth­quakes and on the other it proves that su­per­vi­sion over con­struc­tion of some build­ings is still lax.

Some build­ings in the city of Sar-e Pol Za­hab have been se­verely de­stroyed while some oth­ers, just dozens of me­ters away, have suf­fered mi­nor da­m­ages or no da­m­ages.

This earth­quake proved this fact that it is not a very dif­fi­cult to build houses re­sis­tant to very pow­er­ful earth­quakes. The build­ings that sur­vived this earth­quake, which mea­sured 7.3 on the Richter scale, demon­strated that Iran has emerged rather suc­cess­ful in what I call the war on “strong earth­quakes”.

Even if such a strong earth­quake had stricken the most pre­pared na­tions like Ja­pan, which have made their coun­tries quake-proof, it would have still caused da­m­ages let alone Iran which is still in the mid­dle of the road.

Yet as a coun­try vul­ner­a­ble to re­peated quakes, of­fi­cials and re­spon­si­ble bod­ies in our coun­try must have en­forced a stricter stan­dard for house con­struc­tion. The strong earth­quakes in Tabas in Septem­ber 1978, Roud­bar and Man­jil in June 1990 and Bam in De­cem­ber 2003, which each left thou­sands of peo­ple dead, served as bit­ter lessons not to al­low house con­struc­tors to play with the lives of cit­i­zens by ig­nor­ing build­ing stan­dards.

Now the Ker­man­shah earth­quake must come as an­other wakeup call for re­spon­si­ble bod­ies to fully ob­serve stan­dards. It also shows the ur­gency to take im­me­di­ate ac­tion to re­con­struct build­ings not re­sis­tant to strong tremors, es­pe­cially in the most pop­u­lated ar­eas.

In ad­di­tion, the ju­di­cial bod­ies must bring to book those con­trac­tors or en­gi­neers who over­saw the con­struc­tion of the Mehr build­ings in Sar-e Pol Za­hab which suf­fered great da­m­ages in this earth­quake.

By M.A.Saki Deputy ed­i­tor-in-chief

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