Romanian authorities are rushing to increase the pace of consolidation works of buildings with high seismic risk after the earthquakes in Turkey. A report shows that tens of thousands of Romanians may be injured or killed in the event of a major earthquake.
Over 350,000 residential buildings would be severely damaged and over 45,000 people would be either seriously injured or killed if an earthquake with a magnitude between 7.4 and 8.1 would hit Romania. The figures are provided by the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations in the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the report “National Post-Earthquake Response Concept,” written at the end of 2021 and recently quoted by Digi24. Another document, produced by the Court of Accounts and published in January 2022, draws attention to the fact that state institutions are not prepared for a major earthquake.
Prime minister Nicolae Ciucă said that the government would take responsibility for implementing the decisions related to the consolidation of infrastructure vulnerable to earthquakes and will ensure the necessary funds for the works to start as soon as possible. He also acknowledged that until now the public administration had moved slowly when it comes to consolidating vulnerable buildings.
Minister of development Cseke Attila said during a press conference that the government aims to establish a monitoring program for investments to consolidate buildings at risk. “Today we have 290 funding requests on the platform, out of which 130 are for residential blocks and 160 are for public buildings,” he explained.
Cseke Attila added that he had ordered the State Inspectorate in Construction to do periodic checks on ongoing investment projects.
Also on the topic of consolidation works, the minister highlighted that the Ministry of Education has a program funded by the World Bank, which includes the consolidation of 70 schools. Those not covered by the program will receive financing through the Ministry of Development or the National Investment Company, Attila said.
“In terms of the programs carried out by the Ministry of Development, there are three levels through which the government finances seismic risk consolidation works. I would start with the funding within our reach from the PNRR, where we have EUR 555 mln for works that include building consolidation. From this amount, at the moment, we have signed contracts for EUR 441 mln, with contracting beginning in June 2022. We are talking about 238 buildings that have funding secured for seismic risk consolidation. By March 15, we will contract the entire amount,” the minister added, cited by News.ro.
The spokesperson for the government, Dan Cărbunaru, stated that 118 schools classified as grade 1 seismic risk will be a priority for government programs and that the executive will intervene urgently where funding is needed.
Romania’s head of the Emergency Situations Department (DSU), Raed Arafat, announced that the “I don’t tremble during an earthquake” campaign will soon be launched on 30 television stations. The campaign aims to prepare people to respond in case of an earthquake.
“It is a campaign that was created by our colleagues from the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations (IGSU). It has seven clips, one about how to prepare before an earthquake and six about how to react in different situations in case of an earthquake: you are in a large store, at the mall, at home, at work, at school, and it shows how you should react,” Arafat said, cited by News.ro.
The authorities are not the only ones to take measures after the earthquake in Turkey. Private citizens are reportedly buying survival kits more than before. “The volume of orders is not high in a normal period. We only have 10-15 orders. Now, since the earthquake in Turkey, we have orders for 80-100 kits,” Daniel Timofte, the owner of a company specializing in selling emergency kits and products, told Economica.net.
Romania was also hit by two medium-intensity earthquakes this week. The first one, of magnitude 5.2 occurred on Monday, February 13, while the second, stronger one, of 5.7 magnitude, hit the country the following day. Both started from Gorj county, Oltenia.
(Photo source: Gov.ro)