Antiseismic building, locating faults reduce damage, deaths
China has been promoting construction of antiseismic buildings and working to locate the scope of active faults, where earthquake destruction can be greater, to reduce the potential damage, a senior official said.
The country had built about 24 million antiseismic houses in rural areas, accounting for about 10 percent of rural dwellings, by the end of 2017, benefiting 68 million rural residents, said Zheng Guoguang, vice-minister of emergency management and head of the China Earthquake Administration.
Zheng said all houses in rural areas of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region are now of the antiseismic type. The project’s results have been so good that magnitude-5 tremors have resulted in no injuries to rural residents and magnitude-6 quakes have caused no deaths, as shown in recent quakes.
No deaths were recorded among people in antiseismic houses built under the project in the magnitude-7 jolt in Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan province, in August of last year, he said.
The project was put into action in 2006 after the State Council published a guideline on building antiseismic houses.
After the devastating magnitude-8 earthquake in 2008 in Wenchuan, Sichuan, the central government also initiated a project to reinforce schools or move them out of fault zones.
By investing 300 billion yuan ($43.3 billion), the government inspected more than 2 million buildings in 375,000 schools and reinforced a total floor area of 350 million square meters, he said.
Earthquake-resistance standards for any new or renovated school across the country need to be at least one level higher than local requirements, he added.
The country has determined the exact location of 113 of the country’s total 495 active faults. The administration is negotiating for a special government fund to support the location work, he said. Active faults are those where movement has been observed or seismic activity recorded in the past 10,000 years.
China has promoted seismic isolation techniques that have been used in 8,000 buildings. In Kunming Changshui International Airport in Yunnan province, the rubber mats under each of 1,800 concrete pillars would greatly help reduce a quake’s impact, he said.