Beijing to Enhance Quake Resistance Capability of Old Buildings
   2011-09-19 19:24:27    Xinhua      Web Editor: Liu
Authorities in Beijing will reinforce the city's old buildings over the next five years to enhance their earthquake resistance capability, according to a blueprint from the local seismological bureau.

All buildings in China's capital will be able to resist quakes of intensity VIII on the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale by the end of 2015, according to the 2011-2015 plan for the city's quake-resistance and disaster-reduction issued recently by the Beijing Earthquake Administration.

Seismic activity around the globe has tended to be active since 2008 when an 8-magnitude quake struck Wenchuan County in southwest China's Sichuan Province, and at least 28 quakes above 7-magnitude have been recorded since 2010, the plan said.

It is necessary for Beijing to improve the quake resistance of its old buildings in both urban and rural areas, especially those built before 1980, the plan says.

The local government has launched a five-year campaign to reinforce and reconstruct old buildings, including schools, kindergartens, hospitals and apartment buildings, the plan says.

The municipal government will also set up both a professional and a volunteer team for earthquake disaster emergency rescue by the end of 2012, according to the plan.

The strength of an earthquake is usually measured on one of two scales, the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale, which runs from I through XII, or the Richter Magnitude Scale, which goes from 1 to 9.

The intensity of a quake, depending mainly on the distance from the source, is not totally determined by its magnitude. The Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale is a set of definitions based on what people in the area feel, recorded in the lower numbers and on observations of damage to buildings around them, recorded by higher numbers.

Throughout its history, Beijing has incurred earthquake damage as the city is located on the intersection of the Yanshan seismic belt and the North China Plain seismic zone.

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