In light of a faulty infrastructural system and a trauma-filled inheritance regarding a devastating earthquake in Bucharest in 1977, Romania is starting to bring its head out of the sand regarding seismic risk after recent tragedies in Turkey and Syria, as well as a series of unprecedented minor earthquakes that have jolted the country these past days.
Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca has asked the Minister of Development, Cseke Attila, to develop an instrument for monitoring the implementation of all projects regarding the rehabilitation of high seismic risk buildings, higlighting that there is need of a very clear prioritization and coordination with the local authorities in order to implement them.
The head of the Executive chaired, on Tuesday, at the Victoria Palace, the first meeting of the Inter-institutional Committee for seismic risk analysis.
„What I am asking you for is based on the facts that we took into consideration when we made the decision to set up this inter-institutional committee, namely, to set up that instrument through which we can monitor the implementation of all these projects. We cannot complain that we don’t have plans and projects, the problem is related more to their implementation. So we need to have a committee-level instrument to monitor the progress of the implementation of all these projects. You will approve them, they are being coordinated at the ministry level, but I would very much like to get the local authorities involved, because they are responsible for everything that is done in the communities. And then, please come up with concrete proposals, we make the decision in the committee and pass it on as such”, Nicolae Ciuca said.
The Prime Minister also emphasized that priorities include the infrastructure elements that belong to the Ministry of Education – school units and other buildings where the education process takes place, as well as hospitals and public buildings where a large number of people work.
Reinforcing buildings will take years. When is the govt going to develop a comprehensive and viable plan for escape, safe refuge and recovery in the event of a big quake? Proper advice on contingency plans that everyone can put in place, lists of kit to keep ready for emergency use, networks of volunteers, etc? Education about quakes, awareness about building types (ie brick, concrete, steel etc) and best actions to take in each case… ?