Study questions earthquake safety

Local officials are failing to take any action to ensure buildings in their area are earthquake-proof, despite receiving details of the constructions that are at risk, according to the expert that has compiled a comprehensive report on the dangers that Greek buildings could face if the country is hit by a strong tremor. National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) professor Theodosios Tasios told Sunday's Kathimerini that the NTUA and the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE), the professional body that advises the government on engineering and technical matters, has completed a 10-year study on the dangers faced by each community in some 600 cities, towns and villages in Greece in the event of a powerful earthquake. Tasios said that the findings of the study would be sent to more than 1,000 municipalities in January with a list of proposals about the action they should take. The professor said that while the study was being conducted, a number of mayors were contacted with a view to carrying out quake safety checks on public buildings but only 10 expressed interest in the scheme. He added that the program has also been completed without any assistance from the state. «Our idea is that every mayor who receives a free CD with the information will select a public building in his area to start an earthquake safety check,» said the professor. «At the same time, he can discreetly inform the owners of the private buildings that are deemed to be most at risk about the dangers they face. «We are sitting and waiting for the next major earthquake without doing anything.» Tasios said that as part of the project, researchers have been trying to collect information about some 80,000 public buildings but so far local authorities have supplied them with details of only 5,000.