20 per cent buildings ‘highly vulnerable’ in Thiruvananthapuram

deccan chronicle

Nation, Current Affairs

Disaster Management Authority survey on schools, public offices and hospitals

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Nearly 20 per cent of the 378 public buildings in city screened by State Disaster Management Authority as part of Hazard and Vulnerable Assessment Report, were found to be highly vulnerable.

The highly vulnerable buildings include schools, public offices and hospitals. The SDMA had carried out a rapid visual screening of these buildings which were chosen based on the inputs provided local representatives.

Dr Shekhar Kuriakose , head State Emergency Operations Centre said the public buildings were examined on the basis of a set criteria which  included safety equipment, accessibility  for water tenders, evacuation routes, early warning systems, occupancy, accessibility to  emergency services, damage and electrical insulation. The highly vulnerable buildings followed none of these criteria.

In highly vulnerable buildings there are no safety equipment, no space for water tenders, no evacuation routes, no alarm, smoke and fire detectors and the distance from the main road was more than 1 km. Besides, most buildings were very old and damaged and not properly maintained.

“Safety of buildings from the point of view of disaster management is a critical and priority area,” Dr Kuriakose said and added that various departments had been entrusted with specific tasks on safety.

When contacted, Mayor V K Prashanth said that he had gone through the report submitted by disaster management. “It is an exhaustive report covering various areas. Safety of buildings is definitely a priority area for us. The report has been given to standing committee for detailed examination. We will come out with specific recommendations and tasks once the exercise gets over,” he added.

Experts say the responsibility of each department had been clearly laid down in rules and procedures. But in highly vulnerable buildings, the authorities seems to have turned a blind eye towards safety requirements.

On issues concerning structural stability and fire stability, the onus is on those who are using these buildings, they said.