Geologists and engineers in Aizawl, India learned to identify and protect landslide prone areas, and the government will be enforcing new controls on building excavations. Carpenters and Welders in Bhutan produced their country's first Earthquake Desks, which are far sturdier than standard school desks. Sociologists help communities promote disaster-smart behaviors that protect people from tragedy. Showing the next generation of geologists and engineers how to apply their talents where the need is great.
Back to school in Nepal, GHI’s impact in building school resilience and safety. / New work in Haiti will help communities develop clear messages about how to stay save during an earthquake, based on the local context. / GHI’s work on disaster risks that are unique to cities built among steep hills./ The earthquake-protective desk will be introduced in Bhutan, through a program that trains local manufacturers in its production.
Is an earthquake-damaged building safe to use? A new manual, geared to building types in Bhutan, guides engineers to quickly make these decisions. GHI helped establish Pakistan's first university earthquake engineering program, which graduated its first masters students this year. The hospital becomes the patient when we work with staff to improve readiness for disasters. What should you do in a shaking building? We have an evidence-based answer.
India and Bhutan governments develop the first national action plans for school and hospital earthquake safety. The Quake-Catcher network, the world’s largest low-cost system to monitor seismic activity, expands to Bhutan. Bhutan is preparing the National Referral Hospital to function and care for patients after an earthquake. New tools help engineers rapidly assess safety of Bhutan’s schools and health care facilities, to decide which buildings need strengthening. GHI opens an office in Bhutan. Training the health care sector in India to prepare for earthquakes.
Promoting earthquake safety in rural Peru. APEC’s 21 economies, located along the “ring of fire” develop school earthquake safety policy. A computer risk model that also provides tools and resources to reduce earthquake risk worldwide: Global Earthquake Model (GEM). An international group of engineers and builders launched the Framed Infill Network to change how one particularly lethal building type–concrete frame with masonry infill walls—is designed and built. GHI sponsored membership of 120 professionals from developing countries in the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. A citizen convinces the Turkish government to institute materials testing of concrete and steel, to verify seismic safety.
GHI helps blind students prepare for earthquakes. Reconnaissance and rebuilding in Haiti following the M 7.0 earthquake. Professor Din Kakar, a Pakistani geologist educating the public about earthquake risk, faces many obstacles. A solution to the dire tsunami risk of Padang Indonesia: raised evacuation parks. Training engineers and developing innovative structural designs in Pakistan.
This year, GHI redesigned and expanded its website (www.geohaz.org), launched its “e-news” quarterly email updates that showcase a GHI project currently making news, and reconceived this year-end Newsletter. The aim of these changes has been to communicate more effectively to members and friends how GHI is working to reduce loss of life and suffering around the world in communities most vulnerable to geologic hazards. In this Newsletter, I reflect on 2009 project activities, lessons learned, and ongoing innovations in GHI’s preparedness, mitigation and advocacy efforts. I welcome your response.
We look back on a year that included the tragic loss of more than 19,000 children who died when their schools collapsed last May in Sichuan Province, China. In the weeks that followed, the challenge emerged for us to focus on how we might best offer help to reduce future risk there as rebuilding occurs. Right through the final weeks of 2008 we will undertake new outreach efforts in southeast and central Asia that apply GHI’s message and mission to reduce death and suffering due to natural disasters in the world’s most vulnerable communities through advocacy, mitigation, preparation and prevention. We look forward to partnership building with corporate and philanthropic leaders in Hong Kong at the Clinton Global Initiative Asia in early December, followed by meeting with representatives from ECO (the Economic Cooperation Organization) in Tehran to explore a multi-nation project for improved school seismic safety in 10 Islamic member countries of ECO.
Recent attention to the 100th Anniversary of the Great San Francisco Earthquake on April 18 placed some key issues regarding natural disaster preparedness, prevention and mitigation in the international spotlight. The century of progress that has improved earthquake safety standards in California provides a model for the world.
The close of the year is a good opportunity to look back on the many events in 2006 that involved GHI. It is with genuine pleasure and pride that I recall our achievements, undertaken — I am happy to say—with your support. There was also one event that brought all of us in GHI profound sadness: The passing of Mr. Satoru Ohya, the Chairman of GHI’s Board of Trustees.