March 4, 1977 – Vrancea earthquake

ceausescu_vizita_de_lucru_1977The 1977 Vrancea Earthquake occurred on Friday, 4 March, 21:20 local time and was felt throughout the Balkans. With a magnitude of 7.2 , the earthquake had the epicenter in Vrancea (in the Eastern Carpathians) at a depth of 95 kilometers. About 35,000 buildings were damaged, and the total damage was estimated at more than two billion dollars. Most of the damage was concentrated in Romania’s capital where about 33 large buildings collapsed. Most of those buildings were built before World War II, and were not properly reinforced. Many of the historic buildings that collapsed were not rebuilt; instead, the land was cleared for the building of the Palace of the Parliament.

blocul_wilson1After the earthquake, the Romanian government established that more severe design criteria in the construction standards were to be used. About 80% of the town of Zimnicea (located on the Romanian bank of Danube river) was destroyed. In Bulgaria, the earthquake is known as the Vrancea Earthquake or Svishtov Earthquake. Three blocks of flats in the Bulgarian town of Svishtov (near Zimnicea) collapsed, killing more than 100 people. Many other buildings were damaged, including the Church of the Holy Trinity.

 

 

Based on those said by geo-physician Charles Richter, conveyed to the Romanian experts and cited by National Geographic, the Capital of Romania is one of the urban congestion most exposed to earthquakes. “There is no where else in the world a congestion so exposed to earthquakes which regularly are originated in the same source. The only similar phenomena are the repeated earthquakes which take place deeply in the Hindukush region, in India,” Richter said. The experts said that hundreds of buildings could collapse in Bucharest in case of an earthquake exceeding 7 degrees, some of them being public institutions of major importance, such as hospitals. Less than 20 per cent of the hospitals in Romania are consolidated so that they can be resistant to earthquakes, and the remaining 80 per cent could not face natural catastrophes, because they do not have emergency capacities in place.blocul_din_lizeanu

Based on those said by geo-physician Charles Richter, conveyed to the Romanian experts and cited by National Geographic, the Capital of Romania is one of the urban congestion most exposed to earthquakes. “There is no where else in the world a congestion so exposed to earthquakes which regularly are originated in the same source. The only similar phenomena are the repeated earthquakes which take place deeply in the Hindukush region, in India,” Richter said on 15 of March, 1977. Hundreds of buildings could collapse in Bucharest in case of an earthquake exceeding 7 degrees, some of them being public institutions of major importance, such as hospitals. Less than 20% of the hospitals in Romania are consolidated to resist earthquakes, and the remaining 80% won’t be able to face natural catastrophes, because they do not have emergency capacities in place.
The next big earthquake coming from Vrancea area is expected in maximum 2 years and Bucharest is a mixture of buildings mostly having over 40 years and others already affected by 1940, 1977, 1986 and 1990 Vrancea earthquakes. Everyone is expecting the great earthquake and is praying for survival.

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