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 largerearthquakes, 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 earthquakу 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.