As Shanghai prepares for the 2010 World Expo at a frighteningly fast pace, one aspect of urban development is being overlooked: emergency shelters. Currently, should any sort of natural disaster befall the city, Shanghai’s almost 19 million citizens would have only one (still unfinished) public emergency shelter to turn to.
According to the Shanghai Daily:
Shanghai’s first and only professional earthquake and emergency shelter is being built on Dalian Road. The 20,000-square-meter shelter is designed to house 8,000 people during an earthquake and provide them with basic living necessities. Authorities announced the plan to build the shelter several years ago but the construction will not finish until the end of the year.
Recently, local lawmakers have started pushing for new earthquake defense laws to be drafted that would would require authorities to take action on building emergency shelters. One Congress committee member commented that construction had been planned in certain locations for a while, but was slowed by the “lack of an efficient management mechanism to steer the process.” (We’ll give you a moment here to feign surprise.)
New shelters, if and when they are ever built, are likely to take the place of public squares, parks, and other open areas.
In case you were wondering, buildings in Shanghai are (supposed to be) built to withstand a 7th degree intensity earthquake, or a 4.7 on the Richter scale. Last May’s earthquake in Wenchuan reached the 11th degree and was an 8.0 on the Richter.