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USAID expertise for quake-resistant buildings

Staff Reporter

The Government intended to ensure that all new buildings being constructed in the Capital took into account safety norms. Five establishments to implement the project

NEW DELHI: : The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Thursday announced that it would lend expertise to the Delhi Government for installation of earthquake-resistant features in various buildings of the Capital. This prompted the Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, to announce five establishments in the Capital as lifeline buildings that would be retrofitted with such features using the latest technology.

The USAID offer was conveyed to the Delhi Government by the India Mission Director of USAID, George Deikun, at the launch of the Delhi Government's Delhi Earthquake Safety Initiative for Lifeline Buildings programme. He said his agency would act as a conduit for inflow of expertise from the United States to improve the safety standards of Delhi's buildings to ensure that they can withstand situations like natural calamities. Ms. Dikshit was the chief guest at the function.

The project would be implemented by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, the Delhi Government and would be supported by USAID in collaboration with the Union Home Ministry. The programme would be implemented by two NGOs— GeoHazards International from the US and the Delhi-based SEEDS. Mr. Deikun said there was a wealth of experience and expertise in disaster management in the US and they would bring the best of that expertise and state-of-the-art technology to this project and other efforts in India. For this initiative, experts from California would collaborate and share lessons with Indian seismic experts and structural engineers. These leaders in earthquake safety in the US had on-the-ground experience to share from their successes and failures.

Ms. Dikshit said the project aims at developing an approach towards identifying and reducing the earthquake risk of lifeline buildings by building capacity based earthquake evaluation and subsequent retrofitting to enable the buildings to withstand the impact. The Government intended to ensure that all new buildings being constructed in the Capital took into account safety norms.

The five lifeline buildings that would implement the project include the Delhi Police Headquarters building, Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital, Ludlow Castle Government School, Office of the Divisional Commissioner on Shamnath Marg, and Delhi Secretariat.

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