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Assessments & Scenarios

People have a hard time visualizing how a major threat could become a disaster that will affect them and their family, in specific ways, for months and years. Local leaders are often overwhelmed by the scale of the problem, or in some cases are not aware of it.

 

That’s why we develop disaster scenarios that personalize the impacts. That’s why we assess the specific vulnerabilities of local buildings and infrastructure. Our process engages diverse voices along with local and international experts. The results make complex problems approachable and provide a compelling basis for local decisions about growth, policy, and action.

 

Projects

Safety Measures for Landsliding in Kerala

India

Investigations of still dangerous slopes in Idukki, where 2018 landslides damaged thousands of homes. Partnered with Kerala University, Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA), local officials.

Disaster Scenarios for Risk-Informed Planning

Far and mid-west Nepal

Scenarios of a plausible earthquake quantify impacts, including more than 50% of schools damaged, and guide communities to reduce extreme risk before a disaster.

Seismic Resilience Evaluations

Bhutan

Engineers gained skills to assess structural vulnerability of Bhutan’s schools and health facilities, so that the government could evaluate post-earthquake safety of buildings.

Vertical Evacuation Structures for Tsunamis

Padang, Indonesia

Studied the feasibility of vertical evacuation solutions in Padang for safety during tsunamis. This could save lives in coastal cities where high ground does not exist or people do not have time to evacuate.

Earthquake Safety of the Tibetan Community

Dharamshala, India

An effort to develop seismic strengthening and protect contents for a key building, raise awareness, and prepare schools in the city that is home to the Tibetan government-in-exile

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“Scenarios depict how a plausible event could cause certain losses, and how proactive changes would lead to safer outcomes. We typically include stories and local voices to personalize our science-based findings.”

Janise Rodgers, PhD.

GeoHazards International

 

Blog

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“I admire GHI because no one else is doing the independent, objective work they're doing. They're not constrained by bureaucracy or politics — so they can offer expertise, provide access to a network, bring resources together — and do all those things with integrity.”

Former Senior Regional Advisor, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance

 

Publications

  • Global Earthquake Safety Initiative (GESI)

    Technical information about likely lethality of earthquakes in 21 cities-- including vulnerable aspects of the built environment, schools and hospitals. The model alerts and helps the cities prioritize risk mitigation efforts, with special attention to strengthening school buildings.

    Resources:

    Global Earthquake Safety Initiative


  • Seismic Hazard and Building Vulnerability in Post-Soviet Central Asian Republics

    A compilation of current seismic and engineering data on the seismic hazard of the capitals of the Central Asian republics available in the English language. It comes to the conclusion that the risk to residents of these cities is extremely high.

  • Uses of Earthquake Damage Scenarios

    An earthquake damage scenario EDS describes the anticipated effects that a large but likely future earthquake could have on facilities that are critical to an urban area. By tracing the social and economic events likely to ensue, the EDS can raise awareness of earthquake risk among citizens, officials, and the private sector. It can also help administrators to select earthquake-hazard-reduction strategies and set funding priorities. Part I: Uses of EDS. Part II: EDS for Los Angeles and Tokyo. Part III: EDS for Disaster Management. Part IV: EDS for International Insurance Companies. Part V: EDS methods.

  • The Quito, Ecuador Earthquake Risk Management Project

    Quito has experienced several strong intensity earthquakes over the last 250 years. Seismic risk has increased with population growth, poorly constructed buildings, and uncontrolled development. This report describes effects of future earthquakes and prioritizes risk management options.

    Resources:

    The Quito, Equador, Earthquake Risk Mangement Project


  • Kathmandu Valley’s Earthquake Scenario

    This report describes possible impacts of a potential earthquake to impact Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. The description is intended for use in planning and preparedness exercises and in raising awareness of Kathmandu Valley’s earthquake risk.

  • A Culture at Risk: An Initial Assessment of Seismic Vulnerabilities in Upper Dharamsala, India

    Earthquake vulnerabilities endanger the Tibetan community’s efforts to preserve its cultural heritage in Dharamsala. Recommended improvements to protect the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (LTWA) and other structures.

    Resources:

    An Initial Assessment of Seismic Vulnerabilities in Upper Dharamsala, India

  • Home Coming: A story about how a strong earthquake affects a family with "left-behind" children in Weinan, Shaanxi Province, China.

    Follows a family impacted by a major earthquake in central China, where the deadliest recorded earthquake occurred in 1556. Two versions: 1) graphic novel format for non-technical readers, including rural families and youth, 2) more technical, for public officials and decision makers.

  • Towards a Safer Bajhang: A Magnitude 7.8 Earthquake Scenario and Steps to Build Disaster Resilience

    Details how a plausible disaster would impact the district and how to improve resilience. A storyline follows local characters and includes practical lessons to prepare. Appendices contain detailed technical findings of use to local decision makers as they manage safe growth and plan disaster response.

  • Towards a Safer Rukum (West): A Magnitude 7.8 Earthquake Scenario and Steps to Build Disaster Resilience

    Details how a plausible disaster would impact the district and how to improve resilience. A storyline follows local characters and includes practical lessons to prepare. Appendices contain detailed technical findings of use to local decision makers as they manage safe growth and plan disaster response.

  • Towards a Safer Dadeldhura: A Magnitude 7.8 Earthquake Scenario and Steps to Build Disaster Resilience

    Details how a plausible disaster would impact the district and how to improve resilience. A storyline follows local characters and includes practical lessons to prepare. Appendices contain detailed technical findings of use to local decision makers as they manage safe growth and plan disaster response.

  • Documentation of Traditional Housing Typologies in India in High Seismic Areas

    2009-2010 - GeoHazards Society, with Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (IITH), studied whether the traditional housing typologies used by the community in high seismic prone areas are strong enough to resist the anticipated intensity of earthquakes in the region.

  • Seismic Safety for Adobe Homes: What Everyone Should Know

    Adobe is brittle and weak and vulnerable to earthquake damage. Techniques described are intended to 1) reduce damage to adobe homes in small and medium earthquakes, and 2) help reduce collapse of adobe homes in earthquakes. They MAY NOT PREVENT COLLAPSE in a strong earthquake.

    Recources:

    Seismic Safety for Adobe Homes


  • Background Papers and Supplementary Technical Information: Guidance on Developing Messages for Protective Actions to Take During Earthquake Shaking

    1. Epidemiology of Deaths and Earthquake Injuries, 2. Protective Action in Immediate Fuse Events: a Literature Review, 3. Designing Risk Communication Programs to Promote Adaptive Human Behavior During Earthquakes and Tsunamis, 4. On the Nature of Strong Ground Motions during Damaging Earthquakes, 5. Understanding and Mitigating Building Collapses​, 6. Public perceptions of protective action, survey in three countries, 7. Summary of discussions with an international group of disaster messaging professionals

    Resources:

    Background Papers and Supplementary Technical Information

  • Protective Actions Implementation Workbook

    This workbook can be used to implement a messaging program about what to do during earthquake shaking given the local risk, building types, and other factors.

    Resources:

    Protective Actions: Implementation Workbook

  • Guidance on Developing Messages for Protective Actions to Take During Earthquake Shaking

    What people should do during earthquake shaking, to protect themselves from injury or death? It depends. Evidence-based guidance describes a process and key considerations for creating effective messages for different contexts.

  • Preparing Your Community for Tsunamis

    Guides non-experts so that they can educate their communities and prepare for tsunamis, particularly in underserved communities around the world. Compiles the best available earth science, social science, and emergency preparedness information.

  • Field Manual: Post-Earthquake Safety Assessment for Buildings, ATC-20-1 Bhutan

    Royal Government of Bhutan, Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, The World Bank; Applied Technology Council Endowment Fund. A detailed reference for engineers to use after an earthquake occurs, when they must evaluate thousands of buildings and determine whether these are safe to occupy. Features damages common to masonry and rammed-earth building types in Bhutan.

  • Conceptual Seismic Design Guidance for New Framed Infill Buildings

    Earthquake Engineering Research Institute Endowment Fund, Thornton Tomasetti Foundation. Shows how to design and construct new concrete frame buildings with masonry infill to be earthquake resistant. Around the globe, this common building type has been lethal during earthquakes. Intended for engineers and designers.

    Resources:

    Conceptual Seismic Design Guidance for New Reinforced Concrete Framed Infill Buildings


  • Keeping Schools Safe in Earthquakes

    A process for nations to develop an effective school earthquake safety program, prepared for Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

  • Non-structural Risk Reduction Handbook for Schools

    This guide explains how to prepare schools before an earthquake, to avoid significant injuries or blocked exits that result when unsecured objects fall during shaking.

    Resources

    Non Structural Risk Reduction Handbook for Schools


  • Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital Assessment Report, Nepal

    A seismic assessment of Kathmandu’s specialty centre providing essential care for women and newborn babies. A tertiary central hospital popularly known as Prasuti Griha, its disaster preparedness is a high priority.

  • Kanti Children’s Hospital Assessment Report, NEPAL

    A seismic assessment of the only tertiary referral hospital for children in the Kathmandu Valley, and its disaster preparedness is a high priority. Almost half of patients travel from far and remote areas outside the Valley to access care.

  • Bir Hospital Assessment Report, Nepal

    A seismic assessment of Bir Hospital, a tertiary referral and teaching hospital run by the National Academy of Medical Sciences. Bir's disaster preparedness is a high priority because it offers numerous medical specialties, serves as a center for disaster response, and provides care for Kathmandu’s poor and a large number of people.

  • Seismic Vulnerability Assessment of Trashiyangtse Hospital, Bhutan

    Recommendations to reduce vulnerability at the sole hospital in a remote district. Earthquake-triggered landslides that will block access, so the hospital must prepare to provide essential care in isolation.

  • Seismic Vulnerability Assessment of Trashigang Hospital, Bhutan

    Recommendations to improve preparedness at Bhutan’s main district hospital, facing high earthquake hazard and geographic isolation that will affect relief and resupply.

  • Seismic Vulnerability Assessment, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH), Bhutan

    The assessment report is considered a best practice report in the hospital seismic safety sector, and it informed extensive preparedness and planning in this hospital.

  • Reducing Earthquake Risks in Hospitals from Equipment, Contents, Architectural Elements and Building Utility Systems

    Shows how to equip hospitals to function in a disaster: plan for backup utilities, find and mitigate vulnerabilities in the buildings, and secure objects that could topple and cause injuries in an earthquake. Intended for hospital administrators, engineers, and maintenance staff. 

    Resources