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Gujarat trains engineers in seismic techniques

ABOUT 5000 engineers in Gujarat State, India will be trained in seismic engineering techniques to allow them to implement new building regulations following last year's devastating earthquake in the region.

The 6.9 Richter scale quake on January 25 killed more than 13,000 people and left 167,000 injured (GE News March 2001).

'Soft storey' collapses from failure of poorly reinforced concrete columns in multi-storey buildings increased the death toll of the disaster. New housing will be limited to three storeys to limit potential casualties.

The height limit will form part of tougher building and town planning regulations for the state that are set to be passed as law in May.

Progress in rebuilding an estimated 1.2M homes in the worst damaged areas has been hampered by a lack of engineers and skilled labourers.

The Gujarat State Disaster Management Agency (GSDMA) will install 88 new accelerographs to measure ground acceleration for early prediction of quakes. Five emergency response centres costing £180M will be built in Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Bhuj and Baroda.

GSDMA will raise capacity to respond to disasters such as cyclones, droughts, chemical and nuclear attacks as well as earthquakes. UK consultant Babtie and the Cranfield Institute of Disaster Management are providing technical assistance.

Damian Arnold in Ahmedebad

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