Seismic safety assessment of a makhalla in Tashkent

03 Jun 2014

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“Scenes of Tashkent earthquake in 1966 are fresh in my mind. I was 9 class school boy. The epicenter of the earthquake wasn’t far from place I lived. There were so many buildings destroyed and most of them were individual houses and public buildings: schools, kindergartens and hospitals. But, I would like to outline that this disastrous event revealed good and bad sides of construction. After this event, the approach to the construction practice changed in Uzbekistan since then. And today's seminar devoted to the seismic safety of individual houses once again stressed the need for preparedness for earthquakes” – said Abdugani Rakhimov,”Otchopar-1” Makhalla leader of Yunusabad district of Tashkent city.

The greatest danger during earthquakes pose to buildings built up without seismic safety measures, particularly houses constructed of local low quality materials. Most of individual houses do not comply with the seismic safety construction rules and may easily be destroyed during disastrous earthquakes.

With the aim of improving skills and knowledge of local masons and individual house owners about seismic safety construction practice UNDP conducted a seminar “Can your house withstand the earthquake?” for citizens and individual house owners of “Otchopar-1” makhalla of Yunusabad district of Tashkent city. The seminar was organized with support of Tashkent City Branch of Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES), Institute of Civil Protection of MES and Tashkent Institute of Architecture and Construction.

We know that all social and industrial facilities are constructed as per approved by the government master-plans and the construction is monitored by the government agencies. However, constructions of individual houses are in most cases done by house owners without plan and sketches. Recent earthquakes happened in our country showed the need to improve knowledge and skills of local masons and individual home builders on earthquake safety construction, and advice how to strengthen the house if it has already been built up.

In addition, during the month of May of one of the individual house was practically evaluated on its seismic secure. The results of the evaluation and recommendations for its further strengthening were presented for seminar participants.

More than 60 people and most of them were elders of the mahalla, participated in the seminar, which was held in the training hall of Mahalla administration.

As a practical showcase the documentary films “Rules of behavior before, during and after an earthquake” and “How to construct the seismic safe house” were demonstrated during the seminar. 

“We, Tashkent citizens, live in seismic vulnerable area and in the rush time of the day we almost don’t think that the earthquake may happen now, and what will be our actions in this case. Your documentary film impressed me. I’m, as an advisor of this makhalla on women issues decided conducting similar seminars for women and unemployed people in our makhalla” – marked Naima Isroilova, makhalla advisor on women issues.

Seminar participants with great interest discussed the construction of houses being built in Tashkent, as well as cost-effectiveness of enhancing houses to earthquake safety, because most of people build their houses according to their personal cost.

National Consultant of the project Mr. Saidiy Saidislom, Associate Professor of "Mechanics and Earthquake Engineering" Tashkent Institute of Architecture and Construction and author of two practical guidelines “How to construct seismic safe house” and “Can your house withstand the earthquake?” developed within the frame of the project presented the results of the practical assessment of the house for earthquake resistance and told about effective and practical ways of strengthening of house and answered all questions interested by seminar participants.      

At the end of the seminar all participants received CDs with media materials of project and practical guidelines “Can your house withstand the earthquake?”.