Is Cambodia, future site of ASEAN’s tallest building, ready for a big quake?
A seemingly quake-free country gets its bearings after the recent Myanmar disaster
Genocide, tortures, war — Cambodia has seen truly appalling things, but a significant earthquake isn’t on the list. As its buildings continue to shoot heavenwards on the back of a prospering economy, it has dawned on some Cambodians: what if?
This has never been more apparent than last week, when a 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck neighbour Myanmar, The Phnom Penh Post reports.
According to the Post, the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction is trying to draft better laws to mitigate the effects of natural disasters on high-rise constructions.
Phnom Penh, a historically low-rise city, could be the site of Southeast Asia’s tallest building, the 133-storey Thai Boon Roong Twin Tower Trade Center, by 2019. The structure is being designed to withstand a 9-magnitude earthquake, according to Tous Saphoeun, deputy secretary-general of Pannasastra University’s architecture faculty, which is involved with the skyscraper project.
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“In building this 500-metre building, not only do we consider the aesthetic, quality, and architectural aspects, but the company also pays attention to protecting against earthquakes, storms, and other natural disasters,” Saphoeun told the Post.
Cambodia has relatively little to worry about compared with its more volcanic, earthquake-prone ASEAN neighbours. In 2005, the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology went on record as saying that Cambodia never experiences geological disasters such as earthquakes or tsunamis.
Touch Samnang, deputy director of real estate developer Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation, assured the Post that “all high buildings” in the country have earthquake safety systems against events ranging from 5 to 6 on the Richter scale.