Quake safety alert

Experts call for urgent building review in the wake of recent tremors

Older buildings, which can be more vulnerable to quakes and their aftershocks, have come under the spotlight

By Richard Torné

Experts are calling for a study on buildings vulnerable to earthquakes following the recent spate of tremors in southern Andalucía and the north African Spanish enclave of Melilla.

A 5.1 magnitude earthquake was recorded off the northern coast of Morocco on Tuesday morning. It followed two earlier tremors in the same area early last Friday of magnitudes 4.8 and 4.1. All three were felt in parts of southern Andalucía.

The biggest quake on January 25, with a magnitude of 6.3, struck Melilla and caused up to €12m worth of damage to buildings, but since then there have been more than 2,000 aftershocks – and in excess of 60 within a 12-hour period this week.

In the wake of the tremors, experts at a special conference organised by the school of architects in Almería have called for an urgent review on building safety.

Experts say planners should pay greater attention to the suitability of the land before carrying out construction work, and that buildings most vulnerable to collapse in the aftermath of a powerful earthquake should be identified.

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