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National Action Plans for School and Hospital Earthquake Safety

These consensus-based action plans, which include ways to prepare for and reduce risk in schools and health facilities, were adopted into national policy.


GHI Bhutan Representative, Karma Tshering making a presentation at JDW National Referral Hospital.

Bhutan and many parts of India face high seismic risk and encounter frequent earthquakes. Bhutan's schools and health facilities suffered widespread damage from earthquakes in 2009 and 2011. The goal is for schools and health facilities to withstand these hazards, not only to protect lives but also to resume their important functions after an earthquake.

To help the governments improve how these community assets perform in earthquakes, we developed consensus-based, national action plans for school and hospital earthquake safety. The plans include measures to prepare for risk as well as to reduce risk.

Professionals and government staff who are responsible for designing, building, maintaining, administering and regulating schools and hospitals in each country contributed.

Bhutan's ministries of health and education incorporated priority items from the action plans into their Five Year Plan. In India, the national action plans are part of two larger national, binding guidelines on hospital safety and school safety published by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Our additional technical assistance in Bhutan has built national capacity to assess structural vulnerability of buildings before earthquakes occur, and to evaluate the safety of damaged buildings after an earthquake.


With engineers from Bhutan and the US, we developed vulnerability checklists for health clinics and school buildings, and we trained government engineers to make assessments with the checklists. Bhutan's Ministry of Education then began a nationwide program to evaluate earthquake vulnerability of its schools. This date will be used to prioritize improvements in schools most at risk.

We teamed with Bhutan’s Departments of Engineering Services and Disaster Management, and with Applied Technology Council, to develop a guide for postearthquake safety evaluation of buildings in Bhutan.See Seismic Resilience Evaluations project description.

Funded by Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR)


ATC-20-1 Bhutan Field Manual: Postearthquake Safety Evaluation of Buildings, may be purchased through Applied Technology Council

Is An Earthquake-damaged Building Safe to Use?

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