A GIS application has been designed to help the Chennai Corporation and the departments concerned to take quick decisions when a major earthquake strikes the city. The application has been prepared based on data collected as part of the seismic vulnerability screening of over 50,000 buildings with more than three floors by the civic body in association with the Centre for Disaster Mitigation and Management, Anna University. However, buildings in the defence areas were not covered in the seismic vulnerability screening.
The civic body has started taking measures towards providing the GIS application to other agencies such as Fire and Rescue Services, Police and Home Guards. The GIS application could be used to find out if any of the residential or commercial buildings with three of more storeys are safe when an earthquake strikes. The number of buildings that are likely to be damaged with a particular magnitude of earthquake in the city could be estimated.
As soon as an earthquake with a certain magnitude is recorded in the city, the officials of the civic body would be able to trace the buildings that could have got damaged using the GIS application. The safe escape route of the injured residents of the damaged building to the nearest hospital would also be mapped with the help of the GIS application and the authorities at the ward level would take action at the quickest possible time. The application would also be used to make a decision on the establishment of relief centres by locating strong earthquake-resistant structures in each of the 155 wards of the Corporation.
The civic body is likely to take a decision shortly on permitting the public too to make use of the GIS application for better disaster preparedness. This could help those purchasing an apartment in a multi-storeyed residential building make an informed decision.
More and more such applications of Risk Assessment using GIS should be implement throughout the states in India, as India faces the risks from natural catastrophes like floods, earthquakes and tsunamis. These applications will definitely help the government and also the people of the country in making wise decisions while buying property, land, etc.
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