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Seoul buildings vulnerable to quakes: report

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Published : 2015-09-17 18:18
Updated : 2015-09-17 18:18

Three out of four buildings in Seoul that are required to be earthquake-proof do not have proper aseismic designs to prepare against such natural disasters, a report showed Thursday.

A large number of public facilities, such as schools and public offices, also were not equipped with earthquake plans, making them vulnerable in the case of a disaster, according to the report submitted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government to Rep. Park Nam-choon of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy.

As of June this year, out of 284,409 buildings, only 25 percent of them, or 7,982, had applied earthquake-resistant plans in the architecture.

Under current laws, all constructions with three or more aboveground stories with a total ground area of 1,000 square meters or more must have aseismic designs applied.

Aseismic designs could range from incorporating more steel reinforcement when erecting a building to increasing the structure’s density by reinforcing the beam-column joint or attaching carbon fiber sheets onto the columns to prevent an abrupt collapse of the building.

By district, Jung-gu had the weakest reinforcement works with only 13 percent of the 8,277 buildings having earthquake-resistant designs. Following were Jongno with 13.9 percent and Seongdong with 18.2 percent.

Gangseo district showed the highest rate (32.2 percent) of buildings that went through aseismic works.

Of 2,971 schools citywide, only 840 were constructed with earthquake-proof designs.

South Korea has detected tremors with a magnitude of 2.0 or higher a total of 33 times this year, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration.

The annual occurrences of earthquakes have been increasing since 1978, with 16 times in 1980, 26 in 1990, 44 in 2000 and 58 on average between 2010 and 2014.

Researchers have said that the Korean Peninsula can experience an earthquake at the highest magnitude of 6.5 based on historical data and recent weather observations.

From news reports