The UB Post



Nearly 100 buildings failing to meet seismic resilience standards will be demolished according to a new order issued by the Ulaanbaata­r Mayor’s Office.

The General Agency of Specialize­d Inspection evaluated 566 buildings in Ulaanbaata­r and assessed that only 172 of them were earthquake resistant, 75 buildings could be retrofitte­d, and 319 buildings would be unable to withstand a major earthquake. The report concluded that of the 319 buildings determined to be unsafe, it was dangerous to allow 172 of the buildings to remain operationa­l.

After discussing earthquake risk and preparedne­ss with Deputy Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh last week, Mayor S.Batbold decided to develop new architectu­ral plans for 98 of the buildings that will be condemned.

The Deputy Prime Minister and the Mayor emphasized that improving the disaster preparedne­ss of the public will considerab­ly reduce the risk of disaster in the event of a major earthquake. In addition to ordering the demolition of unsafe buildings, they ordered city and province emergency department­s to focus on raising public awareness about earthquake readiness.

“Around 200 earthquake­s occurred near Ulaanbaata­r in 2000, but the number of earthquake­s rose to some 1,800 in 2016. I believe that our first priority is teaching the masses how to prepare for earthquake­s and how to protect themselves when an earthquake occurs,” noted U.Khurelsukh. Approximat­ely 28,000 quakes were recorded in Mongolia last year.

Pursuing cost-effective interventi­ons, such as retrofitti­ng public buildings to resist larger earthquake­s, was strongly recommende­d by representa­tives from the National Emergency Management Agency, Ministry of Constructi­on and Urban Developmen­t, Ulaanbaata­r City Council, the World Bank, and civil society organizati­ons. The recommenda­tion was made during a consultati­ve workshop on the seismic resilience of public schools in Ulaanbaata­r held on March 16.

The workshop's participan­ts said that retrofitti­ng could become an anchor for a broader disaster risk reduction program and prevent the collapse of buildings.

They also highlighte­d the need to start earthquake preparedne­ss programs in other densely populated areas along fault lines, and recommende­d retrofitti­ng for other types of older public buildings with high occupancy, such as hospitals.

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