Local May 20, 2016 | 7:40 am

Catastrophe lurks over Dominican Republic’s capital

Santo Domingo.- The inhabitants of the Dominican capital ofSanto Domingo are vulnerable to a catastrophic earthquake, from unplannedgrowth, overpopulation in dangerous areas, buildings that don’t comply withtechnical standards and lack of budget to reduce risk.

The geologist Marco Antonio Giraldo said Santo Domingo’s accelerateddevelopment in recent decades has increased the vulnerability of itspopulation, its means of production and services whether from quakes, tsunamisand cyclones.

He cautioned that the current model on land use requireurgent policies to protect the people, their lives and their livelihoods frompotential disasters.

The expert spoke to start a course for communicators ondisaster risk and climate change sponsored by the UN Development Program (UNDP)together with the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), as partof the project "Actions to save lives."

He said Santo Domingo had 239,464 inhabitants in 1950, and 2,908,607,now, or 10 times more in 50 years.

Giraldo said many people aren’t aware of the risks they’reexposed to in greater Santo Domingo, or the number of earthquake-resistant buildingsand the projects which have been done without planning or vision.

"It’s essential to ensure good governance in riskmanagement that promotes the development of the city incorporating measures tomitigate risks, avoid creating new risks and strengthen capacities to cope withdisasters and recovery mechanisms."

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