There will soon be a web application that will help city residents identify the safest place to run for cover during earthquakes.

The application will be based on a survey undertaken to assess seismic vulnerability of buildings in Chennai. The survey has classified a chunk of the buildings in the city as highly vulnerable during earthquakes.

The web application will help residents identify the safest building in their neighbourhood in the event of an earthquake. It will also assist in evacuation of residents from structures prone to seismic hazard.

At a meeting organised recently on the development of the web application, the civic body stressed the need for implementation of recommendations made for strengthening multi-storied buildings in the city as part of disaster preparedness.

“Suitable provisions in development regulations have to be made by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority in concurrence with the government,” said an official of the Chennai Corporation.

The survey undertaken by the Centre for Disaster Mitigation and Management at Anna University aerially mapped medium-to-tall buildings in the city. The city has more than 11 lakh properties housed in multi-storied, special and ordinary buildings.

The buildings covered in the survey have been categorised into three-storied, four-storied and buildings with five floors or more. The survey was launched as part of a Government of India-funded project to evolve GIS information-based e-governance model for vulnerability assessment of Chennai.

The study also analysed soil types in the city limits and found that the clay and unconsolidated sediments were likely to amplify earthquake energy effects.

Such areas were identified at Purasawalkam , Vepery, Egmore, Vyasarpadi, Siruvallur, Otteri, Kolathur, Villivakkam, Anna Nagar, Ayanavaram, Koyambedu, Arumbakkam, Kodambakkam, Taramani, parts of Velachery and parts of T. Nagar.

The study recommended soil improvement in Vysarpadi, Purasawakkam, Koyambedu, West Mambalam, T. Nagar, Villivakkam and Saligramam for mitigation of seismic damage.

The Chennai Corporation will soon play a key role in ensuring that new buildings incorporate the amplification factor to realistically design appropriate earthquake-resistant features.

Chennai was re-designated from Hazard II zone to Hazard III zone (greater vulnerability) in 2001.

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