Budget deficit impeding disaster reduction efforts: official

January 1, 2018

TEHRAN – Shortage of budget has been impeding many projects needed to implement disaster reduction plans, especially during earthquakes, YJC quoted Ahmad Sadeqi, director of the Tehran Disaster Mitigation and Management Organization, as saying.

The budget bill for the next Iranian calendar year (March 2018-March 2019) has allocated roughly 110 billion rials (nearly $2.75m) to the National Disaster Management Organization which shows a drastic decrease compared to 800-billion-rial (nearly $20m) allocated in 2005-2006, Mashreghnews reported.

As per the fifth five-year national development plan (2010-2015), Tehran must have been equipped with 50 seismometer stations, however, there are just 14 stations active in the metropolis now, Sadeqi regretted.

“We have planned 50 different projects based on researches we have conducted to reduce the fatalities of a possible earthquake in Tehran by 90 percent,” Sadeqi highlighted, adding, “15 projects have been prioritized, among which some are already completed and some are underway.”

He also referred to earthquake early warning systems which can notify the citizens of a substantial earthquake 10 seconds before it strikes – provided that proper number of them would be installed. 

There is just one such system set up at Mosha fault zone and based on the extent of Tehran’s fault lines, 56 of such devices are needed, mentioned the official, adding that the cost of each system and each related tower (for sending alarms) is $38,000 and $300,000 respectively which obviously cannot be done due to the budget limitations the organization is facing.

Preparing Tehran for a possible major earthquake should be the priority of the city’s management system, Sadeqi underlined, concluding that global researches show each $1 spent on disaster prevention saves up to $15 in the long run.

Recent earthquakes in Kermanshah, Kerman, Alborz and Tehran provinces have aroused worries among people and temporarily prompted authorities to think twice about preparations and aftermaths of possible massive quakes especially in Tehran.

MAH/MQ/MG 

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