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Kamchatka peninsula may lose up to 100,000 residents
The Kamchatka peninsula, if hit by a powerful earthquake, may lose up to 100,000 residents, specialists of the Russian Emergency Situations ministry warned, referring to an analysis of the condition of apartment houses and structures, and their resistance to tremors. Another analysis - of the aftermath of the Sakhalin earthquake, was presented at an extraordinary meeting of the regional emergency commission by a special group of Town Hall personnel on Friday. A six- to seven-magnitude earthquake in Nevelsk destroyed 221 apartment houses and 29 social and culture facilities, leaving 7,500 people homeless. Kamchatka Territory governor Alexei Kuzminsky said Kamchatka needed 33 billion roubles to boost the strength of all structures to withstand 7- to 9-magnitude earthquakes. Scientists predicted that such an earthquake was possible within the next five years. More than 1,800 Kamchatka facilities need to boost their earthquake resistance. Kuzminsky ordered to make an inventory of “material resources” to be used in case of earthquake-related emergencies. “These material means should be used quickly and effectively for helping people,” he said. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 repeat earth tremors have occurred in Nevelsk since August 2 when the town was hit by a powerful earthquake measuring six to seven points on the Richer scale, according to the press service of the Sakhalin regional department of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry. It referred to new data of the Geophysical service of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAN). The seismic activity in the Nevelsk area is now higher than the intensity of tectonic cataclysms in the area of the Simushir Island of the Kuriles chain. A total of 798 aftershocks have been registered there since November 15, 2006 after a 7.8-point earthquake. The strong earthquake in Nevelsk was triggered by the earth crust movement in the Tatar Strait on the coast of which the town is located. The epicenter was located just four kilometers from Nevelsk. According to scientists, there was a tsunami wave up to two meters high here after the earthquake; it reached the Japanese Hokkaido Island. After the powerful earthquake in the Simushir Island area the tsunami wave was seven meters high and this wave, with reduced strength, reached Alaska, the Hawaii and even New Zealand. The August 2 earthquake in which Nevelsk was hit the worst had a magnitude of 6.8 points on the Richter scale. After that, 14 aftershocks were registered in the vicinity of Nevelsk; most of them had a magnitude of more than five points. The power of the shocks reduced with distance. People in the island’s major commercial port city of Kholmsk experienced the shocks of 5.0 to 6.0 points, while the regional capital Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk had a mere 3.0 to 4.0 points, according to Sakhalin seismologists. Two people died in the quake in Nevelsk, 12 were injured, 34 people applied for medical aid over the aggravation of cardiovascular diseases. The Sakhalin region authorities guaranteed new housing for people who had lost homes in emergency situations and natural calamities. New housing will be provided to residents of Nevelsk who were left without shelter after the August 2 quake. The housing norm will be at least 18 square meters per one person if the family comprises three members. A single citizen will be given 33 square meters of total housing area and a two-member family will be provided with 42 meters of housing. The same norm of dwelling space will be provided to all residents of the Sakhalin Island and Kuriles if they lose their homes in an earthquake or other natural calamities. Earlier this week, regional legislators called for raising seismicity norms for a number of far eastern areas. All the earlier structures have a 2- to 4 points deficit of earthquake resistance. It was only in 1995, after the tragedy in Neftegorsk , when a quake killed almost the entire 2,000 population of this settlement, that Sakhalin seismicity was raised by two to three points, the legislators said in statement on Thursday. The deputies asked presidential representative in the Far Eastern Federal District Kamil Iskhakov to raise the issue of including the Sakhalin region in the federal program on increasing the earthquake resistance of the key facilities and life support systems in the seismic areas of the Russian Federation in 2009-2017. If their request is granted, Sakhalin and the Kuril islands will have federal funds to boost the earthquake resistance of old structures and built new ones, capable of withstanding natural disasters.
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