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December 3, 2021

Mock quake plan conclusion: A tremor would make 6,500 victims

An earthquake of over 7 degrees on the Richter scale, a magnitude similar to that of the tremor that rocked Bucharest on March 4, 1977, would wreck the Romanian capital. The death toll would reach 6,500 were the quake to strike at around 9:00 pm, 16,000 people would be seriously injured, 10,500 – hospitalised, 13,000, lightly injured and 95,000 would be trapped in the buildings or under rubble, these are the conclusions of a report by the General Council of the Bucharest Municipality, cited by the ‘Evenimentul Zilei’daily newspaper. The document will be up for debate by the Council at a session in the upcoming days and will be used by authorities to provide adequate rescue measures in case a quake rocks Bucharest. The latest major quake struck Romania, and its capital primarily, on March 4, 1977, lasted 55 seconds and made 1,574 victims, of whom 1,424 in Bucharest.

‘The Risk Analysis and Cover Plan for year 2009’ – drawn up by experts at the City Hall, Prefecture and the Ministries of Interior and Housing – draws attention to grade 4 and 5 damages going to be inflicted to the walls and roofs of 23,000 buildings, unless utterly destroyed by a quake of a magnitude similar to that in 1977. No fewer than 450,000 of the capital’s 2 M residents would stand to suffer from the jolt if it happens at around 9:00 pm. The victim toll would nonetheless get halved if the shake were to hit at noon time. The document also names the areas affected if one of the city’s dams breaks. Contrary to the general opinion, it is the one-storey buildings that are most exposed to collapsing. Of the existing 23,000 buildings, roughly 1,000 may sustain serious damage (of grade 5), of which more than 10 per cent are tall buildings. About 4,100 buildings, of which 9 per cent are tall buildings, may sustain condemn damages, the document states. The historic downtown area would be the most exposed. Authorities’ actions has so far been nil actually, ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ writes, as only 12 buildings have been consolidated over the past 18 years, of the 392 high-risk buildings in Bucharest. A single such building has been reinforced by municipal authorities this year.

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