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Challenges, resilience, mitigation of earthquakes discussed at webinar on 15th anniversary of Kashmir earthquake

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All constructions to be earthquake resistant, life-line buildings to be retrofitted: Div Com

Srinagar: Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Pandurang K. Pole Thursday inaugurated a webinar on 15th anniversary of the massive earthquake that shook Kashmir on this day in 2005.

The webinar was jointly organized by National Institute of Disaster Management and Institution of Engineers (India), Jammu & Kashmir UT, Srinagar, in collaboration with the Divisional Administration, Kashmir and J&K chapter of Indian Red Cross Society, Srinagar, an official press release informed.

It said the Divisional Commissioner on the occasion stressed on the need to enforce building codes and implementing building by-laws in J&K, both in urban as well as rural areas, so that all new constructions are earthquake resistant.

He stressed on the need to utilise the local traditional construction knowledge, as well as new technologies to make all structures safe. He also proposed that a few important buildings will be identified as life-line buildings on a pilot-basis in vulnerable districts for their retrofitting in order to make them earthquake resistant.

The Div Com emphasised on ensuring that all engineered and non-engineered structures are made earthquake resistant.

He also shared his experiences as District Magistrate of Latur Maharashtra, and spoke about the Latur Earthquake of 1993, where the affected villagers were shifted to new locations instead of repairing and reconstructing in-situ the existing damaged structures, and instead ex-situ new safe structures were taken up, adhering to all planning processes, which proved to be a best practice in the state.

He impressed upon all the officers and participants to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to make J&K safe.

Aamir Ali, chairman IEI J&K State Centre, Srinagar said that the 2005-earthquake was the severest earthquake “encountered in our lifetime”, which resulted in massive destruction on both sides of the Line of Control.

He said that post earthquake, innovative and effective relief and rehabilitation measures were taken by the government to establish institutional mechanism to deal with disasters, including setting up of State Disaster Management Authority, Divisional & District Disaster Management Authorities and State Disaster Response Force.

Those who participated in the webinar included Kamal Kishore, Member National Disaster Management Authority; Dr. Vineet K. Gahalaut, National Geophysical Research Institute Hyderabad; Tinny Sawhney, Aga Khan Development Network; Dr. Rajendra Desai, National Centre for Peoples Action in Disaster Preparedness Ahmedabad, and Dr. C.V.R Murthy, Professor IIT Madras.

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