World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Risks Of Underground Expansion Must Be Addresed


Big Cities Must Address Risks Of Underground Expansion, UN University Says

With growing population pressures on land in big urban centres, city managers find opportunities in using underground space for transportation, shopping and parking but do not always face the possible subterranean risks from natural disasters, according to United Nations University experts.

"The concentration of people and wealth in such underground spaces is expanding and merits careful examination," says the UNU's Srikantha Herath.

In many areas such facilities have not been used long enough to show the effects of various hazards, Dr. Herath says. "Modelling a variety of catastrophic events is essential for building contingencies into underground infrastructure designs, including evacuations and the emergency containment and transport of flood waters, for example."

>From 1999 to 2001, Tokyo experienced 17 incidents of underground flooding, mainly during the July to September monsoon and typhoon months and some resulted in deaths, despite extensive precautions, he says.

In other areas not known to be flood plains, rare incidents of torrential rain can cause disasters, he says. In Venezuela in 1999, rainfall not seen in the previous 1,000 years caused mudslides that devastated nine northern provinces and buried resorts in coastal towns near Caracas.

In Asia, people have expanded their settlements into alluvial plains formed by previous floods, he says. In these areas, "the co-existence of humans and nature has always been precarious, a gamble with nature."

Meanwhile, underground space is usually mapped in relation to the buildings above ground, instead of using subsurface maps showing connections along which water could flow a long way from the source, UNU says.

"It is essential to plan and construct underground space based on information such as connectivity and to design carefully all uncovered entrances to underground spaces," says Janos Bogardi, director of the UNU's Institute for Environment and Human Security in Bonn, Germany.

Underground disasters can also threaten the stability of the buildings overhead, collapsing floors and compromising ventilation ducts, he says.

UNU says it is helping to build a computerized system to simulate the impacts of such natural disasters as floods and tsunamis on towns and cities, beginning with the Japanese city of Owase and moving on to other Asian urban centres.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>

ALSO:

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news