Construction of building structures is increasing on a daily basis. With newer technological sophistication introduced, newer strategies are used for making the building stronger during construction. However strong the building may be, it is not matched for natural disasters, especially earthquakes. Earthquakes are one of the biggest challenges for a building structure to overcome because even the strongest buildings do suffer damages from earthquakes.
The Two Scenarios
January 26, 2001, was definitely an unforgettable day for India. An earthquake of 7.7 magnitude struck at Kutch, Gujarat on this day resulting in more than 20000 deaths and over a million building structures destroyed. A similar earthquake of 7.5 magnitudes struck at Mindanao, Philippines on March 6th, 2002. This earthquake was followed by a tsunami but still, the damages caused in the Philippines were less than the Gujarat earthquake.
Less damage cause indicates the effective measures taken by the Philippines Govt. to overcome the disaster. Countries like the Philippines, Japan, not even half of India in terms of landmass is more prone to high seismic activity yet they overcome them efficiently. The government strictly instructs to construct earthquake resistant building structures. For accomplishing this task they primarily use reinforced TMT steel bars along with concrete. TMT reinforced steel bars are used due to their excellent strength and ductility.
Why does a big country like India cannot efficiently handle such a situation? Don’t we have the skill, the resources, but then why?
In a country like India, even though we have the recommended resources to build earthquake-resistant structures, people are not given the right awareness and also the tools, particularly the correct grade TMT reinforced steel bars needed for the buildings are replaced with grades claiming to be the same as original thereby compromising ductility for more strength. Another reason is the government’s inefficiency in maintaining a strict building code for the construction of earthquake resistant building structures.
This way of conduct must end then only the effective measures can be implemented to ensure the of building structures. It is interesting to know the different strategies employed by Western countries to overcome earthquakes. Our country can also overcome these challenges but in order to happen, a change is definitely needed.