800 More Contingency Centers Planned

800 More Contingency Centers Planned800 More Contingency Centers Planned

T he plan to establish 800 new contingency centers across the country where emergency relief supplies will be stored and education programs for the public to cope with natural disasters are to be organized, was recently announced by Morteza Akbarpour, deputy head of Iran’s Crisis Management Organization.

Akbarpour, referring to the storm in Tehran on August 31, noted that several hours prior to the impending storm, “Our experts warned people on TV, radio and other media.”

Fortunately, due to the early warning no fatalities or major injuries were reported after the incident, as against the July dust storm which caught the meteorological department off guard and created havoc in Tehran and Alborz provinces, including the death of over 20 people.

“But, we are not still geared up for other natural disasters like earthquakes,” the Persian language newspaper ‘Iran’ quoted Akbarpour as saying.

In order to deal with high-magnitude quakes, 120 emergency centers in Tehran Province and 250 across the country have been established.

 In Tehran, every district has one center where emergency supplies have been stored as a measure for survival, in case disaster strikes. The rest of the centers are multifunctional and offer educational programs to the people. They will also be used as shelters in times of a crisis.

The number of centers will increase to more than 1,000 with the establishment of the 800 centers,” he said, adding that all have been constructed with earthquake-resistant material.

He pointed to the formation of 14 new working groups “in preparedness for a Tehran earthquake,” with specific tasks for each.

 However, Tehran is still not ready to deal with a powerful earthquake. The city has an 11,000 km pipeline network for supplying gas. “Automatic breaker devices have been installed only in the bottlenecks; so gas flow in pipelines in times of a crisis will not stop,” he said.

 City Unprepared

“Tehran’s readiness for earthquakes of over magnitude 6 on the Richter scale is low. A quake measuring 7 on the Richter is strong enough to damage almost all buildings across the city,” he said.  

Buildings located in the city fringes are even more vulnerable. They can be damaged severely even by a moderate earthquake. “We have warned people to avoid constructions in unauthorized places such as locations on main faults (mainly on the city fringes). Yet there are plenty of illegal constructions.”

While earthquake prediction is not possible, there is always a possibility given the major fault lines in Tehran. Therefore it was decided to increase emergency preparedness and response, Akbarpour said.  

The main faults active in Tehran and the region are Mosha-Fesham (north of Tehran Province), north Tehran fault (northern part of the city), and Ray, Kahrizak and Parchin faults (in the city’s southern part).

There are also five other faults in the southern part of Tehran Province including Arad, Robatkarim, Marreh, Pishva and Garmsar.