Success Story: Early Warning System of Vrancea, Romania
Project Name: Early warning system in Vrancea, Romania
Location: Vrancea, Romania
Number of Sirens: 11 Pavian sirens
Last Time of Installation: 2012 (further development of the system is planned for 2017)
Project Target: Flood Control in the Somes River Valley
Partner: Telegrafia Romania
Vulnerability to a Seismic Risk due to its Geographical Location
Vrancea is a county in Romania with its seat at Focșani. It is mostly the historical region near the Romanian border with Moldavia, to the south-west of the Milcov River. In 2011, it had a population of 323,080 and a population density of 66.51/km².
A curvedly shaped mountainous area, with mountains heights over 1,400 m, lies in the western part of the county, at the southern end of the Eastern Carpathians. To the east, the heights decrease into hilly areas and the lower valley of the Siret River. The main tributary of the Siret River, which crosses the county, is the Putna River.
Vulnerability to a seismic risk is due to Romania’s geographical location on the Vrancea subduction zone, situated along the south-eastern Carpathian arc, which forms an ellipse stretching from the north-east to the south-west of the Romanian territory, including Bucharest. Proximity to the geological fault zone and poor soils make Bucharest Europe’s highest risk capital city and one of the 10 most vulnerable cities in the world. Compounding the situation is the fact that Romanian economic activities are concentrated in and around Bucharest. The vulnerability of the Romanian economy to earthquakes alone is further exemplified by the following facts:
- Over 35 percent of Romanians or 65 percent of all urban population is exposed to seismic hazards arising from the Vrancea fault zone
- 60-75 percent of Romania´s fixed assets are located in seismic zones
- 70-80 percent of GDP is produced in highly seismically-prone areas
- 45 percent of all national lifelines is in seismic areas of VII-IX intensities on the Mercalli Scale (MSK).
Early Warning System of Vrancea as Part of Seismic Risk Reduction Measures
The 1977 earthquake served as a catalyst for Romania to begin the implementation of seismic risk reduction measures. This strategy includes the development and implementation of improved building codes, identification of at-risk structures, and the development of different programs improving the region`s safety. All these measures have been continuing up to now, and one of them was the implementation of the Vrancea Early Warning System.
The Vrancea Early Warning System project started in 2003. A total of 60 powerful Pavian sirens has been installed in the endangered areas so far. The system control centre is situated in the city of Focsani. The communications within the system are ensured using a reliable analogous radio channel, providing very fast system activation and strong security of signal transmission. The central communications unit in Focsani communicates with repeater communications units in Marasesti, Panciu and Adjud by radio. Some of the sirens in the system communicate directly with the repeater communication units, and some are controlled locally. As a whole, the Early Warning System is controlled by the Vektra® software, installed in the control centre and connected to the central communications unit by a cable. Before putting into operation, the system was tested thoroughly, and accepted by the responsible authorities.
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