Romania has not experienced high level earthquakes in the past few years, with the most devastating one taking place in the 70s, but a recent discovery made by the authorities has shown that almost 400 buildings are under a seismic risk in the city alone. Bucharest is known as one of the capitals with historical buildings everywhere, with a few locations thriving upon this (the Old Town as an example).
Upon an evaluation performed in the last few months, almost 400 buildings need to be consolidated because they are under a seismic risk. For this purpose, the government has decided to send $10 million euros to save at least a part of these buildings. As some may know, because of the latest regulations regarding seismic risk buildings, one of the biggest restaurants in the Old Town has been shut down. According to new regulations, restaurants, clubs and any other commercial businesses cannot function in buildings with a seismic risk, which has prompted many businesses to close shop. The Nottara theater in Bucharest, one of the most widely recognized theaters in the capital has also been affected by the new regulations and starting with November 23rd, the organizers decided to cancel all the shows that were supposed to take place in the original location because of the seismic risk the building was under.
Here are some facts about the buildings with seismic risk in Bucharest:
- The Red Stamp
The red stamp is used to signal to the public the buildings that are currently under a seismic risk. Every building in the capital city has been analyzed: from blacks of flats, to restaurants and theaters and other buildings that are currently used one way or another by the people. If you see a red stamp anywhere, you should remember that the writing on it states that “This building has been analyzed technically and placed on a First Class list of buildings with a high seismic risk”.
This list of buildings with a high seismic risk contains 183 buildings all over the capital. The first class risk means there is a very high chance of them collapsing should an earthquake happen in the city.
- Bucharest – the most vulnerable capital
According to the statistics, the buildings in Bucharest have been majorly affected by the previous earthquakes that took place in the 1940s, 1977, 1986 and 1990. They have affected their structure and even though they have not collapsed, there is no guarantee that they will not do so during the next earthquake.
Even though Romania is not a country with a high level of seismic risk like Japan for instance, the possibility of an earthquake happening here is not that farfetched. Bucharest is located at about 100-170 km from Vrancea, the area with the most earthquakes in Romania. At the same time, many buildings were built before 1940 using bricks as a base. Because of the weather conditions, the time since they were built and the previous earthquakes, they are in grave danger of collapsing.
- The administration’s plan
The plan to modernize the buildings in Bucharest and save those who are currently under a seismic risk involves three steps. 10 million euros have been dedicated to these steps.
The first step involves continuing the building process for 4 buildings that are currently being constructed. The second step is starting the reinforcement process for 29 other buildings. The last step involves analyzing 24 other buildings and developing technical projects regarding 29 other buildings.
Moreover, the same administration approved an extra 735,000 euros for seven buildings for social houses and houses for homeless young people. Three of them are currently located in sector 5, two of them in sector 4, one in sector 2 and one in sector 3. 15 more millions of euros will be spent on projects that involve developing buildings for medical companies (Romania’s medical system is one of the poorest in Europe) and another 21.4 million euros will be spent on multifunctional complexes or buildings that can be used by multiple companies at the same time. These complexes will house schools and other didactic activities and most of them will be built inside or near schools and high schools that already exist in an attempt to boost the educational system as well.
On top of these projects, in 2018 the administration will also focus on:
- Building five new buildings for kindergartens in Bucharest (in sector 2 mainly);
- Rehabilitating and modernizing one of the most popular kindergartens in Bucharest (Kindergarten no. 30), a project that will cost an additional 4 million euros;
- Building 12 gyms, 7 of which will also have a swimming area for students to be able to perform these activities inside their schools and not be forced to go somewhere else. This project will also cost a bit over half a million euros (517,000 euros);
Modernizing and restoring M. Flamaropol, one of the most popular artificial skating rinks in the capital. Once again, the administration will pay an additional 5.4 million euros for this alone;