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Kampala buildings a deathtrap

By Vision Reporter

Added 28th February 2010 03:00 AM

Letter of the day

EDITOR—Over the last decade, earthquakes have killed two million people, mostly in the developing nations. On January 12, over 200,000 people perished in the earthquake that shook Haiti capital Port au Prince.

Letter of the day

EDITOR—Over the last decade, earthquakes have killed two million people, mostly in the developing nations. On January 12, over 200,000 people perished in the earthquake that shook Haiti capital Port au Prince.

Letter of the day

EDITOR—Over the last decade, earthquakes have killed two million people, mostly in the developing nations. On January 12, over 200,000 people perished in the earthquake that shook Haiti capital Port au Prince.

True, the magnitude was of biblical proportions, but that was not the main reason why so much life was lost. In the 1990s, an earthquake of similar magnitude shook San Francisco City in the US, but people came out alive. The difference between the building technology in San Francisco and Haiti made all the difference.

Port au Prince, like Kampala, has been a highly congested city, let alone being developed at a rate as fast as that of Kampala. In such cities, building companies are more driven by profit without much concern about the possibility of disaster.

Standards are not enforced since regulatory and supervisory bodies are bedevilled by the twin evils of corruption and lack of facilitation by Government, just as the Police is. Less building materials like cement and steel are used to lower the cost. In many cases, the materials are fake.

Haitian buildings that killed thousands were mostly cement and concrete, without steel reinforcement. Large storey buildings had few steel columns.

Concrete and cement cannot withstand an earthquake of a six-point magnitude. In Kampala and the countryside, houses are sprouting, but who inspects them?

Kampala has already had a number of buildings collapsing. What would Ugandans expect if an earthquake, even of a smaller magnitude, shook up the city?

I am afraid most of Kampala’s new buildings are a deathtrap if the Government does not come up strongly to ensure that safety standards are adhered to. We pay taxes to the Government to keep us safe, but does it? Our Parliament should act now to save Ugandans.

Henry F. Mulindwa,
US

Kampala buildings a deathtrap

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