In an interview with Lusa, the expert, who coordinates the ReSist program, identifies “a great lack of awareness” about the real seismic risk and says that it is necessary to contradict preconceived ideas.
“Everybody always has a bunch of excuses. We have […] to demystify. This is neither expensive nor impractical […]. It is feasible and it is not such an added cost”, she counters.
“It's not that expensive and there are countless solutions”, she said.
According to the expert, "some" builders "always take" the safety of buildings into account, but there are also "others who, if they can't do it, they don't".
“There is always a lot of use of the phrase 'this is too expensive, this is very difficult, this is not possible to implement'”, she reports.
The structure-“which, in the end, is what keeps the buildings standing”-costs only 20 percent of the work, she believes, stressing that much more is spent on “retouching”.
According to Cláudia Pinto, seismic reinforcement costs 5 percent of that 20 percent.
“There will be an earthquake”
Added to this is the “behavioural issue”, which leads people to believe that the 1755 earthquake “is an event back in the day”, which will not happen again.
“The city of Lisbon has a context of proximity to active faults. There will be an earthquake, we don't know when, but there will be. It's more likely there is than there isn't. So let's prepare as well as possible,” she warns.
The geologist indicates that 60% of the buildings in the city were built before 1958 when there were no anti-seismic regulations: “That's a lot. And this will exist in several other areas of the country that have historic centres, like Lisbon. This is a very annoying problem, which is given little importance, but it is necessary to start overcoming this inertia.”
However, this hypothesis “is not a concern, nor are people aware of the risk to which they are exposed”, regrets the specialist.
“We see buildings being sold in certain areas of the city where the construction price is exaggerated and people buy. Have they checked whether these buildings have all been refurbished [according to structural safety conditions]?”, she asks.
It is necessary, she adds, that people are demanding with the market, in relation to the buildings they buy and their safety conditions, not least because this is a big investment, often of a lifetime.
“And then we don't want to take precautions either. For example, nobody takes out seismic risk insurance […]. I know that the probability is minimal, but the impact is huge and people don't do it”, she points out, underlining that she has already asked insurers and that would add only“ 30 euros a year ”.
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