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Our Work

Our Work

Recent Projects

Supporting Thimphu’s Path to Safer Buildings

January 01, 2020



This program is quantifying building damage and human losses from two plausible disasters: a regional magnitude 8 (M8) earthquake similar to Bhutan’s 1714 earthquake, and a smaller magnitude 7 earthquake centered closer to Thimphu. 

Timoun an Aksyon! (Kids in Action)


This innovative, youth-led program is empowering young people in Haiti to make their communities safer from extreme coastal hazards. In their own voices and style, they are sharing their new knowledge with peers and the public about how to take action now that builds resilience to disasters. Local schools are also implementing disaster preparedness and emergency planning.

2018 - Present


Many families in Haiti and Dominican Republic live in areas where a damaging earthquake, and the landslides it could trigger, will occur suddenly without warning. A powerful offshore earthquake near the north coast could also quickly generate a lethal tsunami.



Extreme rainfall across the state of Kerala in August 2018 caused extensive flooding in low-lying areas and triggered thousands of landslides in hilly terrain. People are still in danger in the rains this year because many landslides only partially failed and remain unstable.

2013 - Present


In the seconds when an earthquake begins, a person's action may spell the difference between safety and suffering. But what to do? We created evidence-based guidance for creating messages that serve different contexts. A project in Haiti applied this approach.

Increasing Resilience to Earthquakes and Landslides in Shaanxi Province, China

2016 - present

To understand how future earthquakes will affect modern cities in central China, we are working with colleagues from China and the United Kingdom to create a scenario that depicts specific impacts from a likely earthquake, and to recommend a plan of action that will reduce risks and protect people from harm. 

2017 - 2019

A powerful earthquake fault is poised to rupture beneath this rugged, hilly region. It could be five times more powerful than the 2015 earthquake that occurred near Kathmandu. We are working with local leaders, teaching people how to protect themselves, preparing schools, and training engineers in the technical skills to make buildings safe.

2015 - Present


Schools made of unreinforced masonry or other brittle material can become lethal during earthquakes. The long-term solution is to seismically strengthen schools, which is underway in Bhutan. We introduced affordable Earthquake Desks to protect children in the meantime, and trained local manutacturers to produce the sturdy desks. 



Sustain the Initiatives to Keep Health Facilities Safe from Disasters in Bhutan

2013, 2016-2018 

Doctors, nurses and hospital staff learned in training sessions and hands-on simulations how to prepare for major disasters in Bhutan. In this Himalayan country, an earthquake and resulting landslides may isolate a hospital for some time. 

Hospital Safety Screening & Comparison with 2015 Earthquake Damage, Nepal

2014-2015, 2017

We screened two hospitals in Kathmandu to assess their disaster preparedness. As it happened this was a couple of months before the 2015 Gorkha earthquake. We returned later to compare pre- and post-earthquake findings, and to study whether the screening process accurately predicted post-earthquake function of the hospitals.

2015 - Present


Aizawl faces exceptionally high risk from landslides on its many slopes. Seasonal rains trigger them, an earthquake may set off  thousands, and urban growth adds to the problem. We helped geologists, engineers and city planners develop regulations, landslide hazard maps, and technical know-how to protect people.

2015 - Present


Children with special needs may struggle to respond safely during and after emergencies. We trained the premier institute for visually impaired children in Bhutan to develop a disaster preparedness plan for and to conduct drills tailored for its students.

2014 - Present


Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia, has one of the highest tsunami risks in the world, due to its close offshore seismic hazard, flat terrain, and dense population. Half of its 900,000 people live within the expected inundation zone and have no option to reach safety. We devised refuge in the form of elevated neighborhood parks. 

2013 - Present


Bhutan lies in a high seismic risk zone in which strong earthquakes will certainly occur. We helped the Royal Government of Bhutan implement the first National School Preparedness Drill in 2013, which has become an annual learning event.

2013 - Present


We trained engineers in Bhutan to anchor and brace medical equipment and utilities, and to install back-ups for essential systems that will fail in an earthquake. These precautions will help ensure that Bhutanese hospitals are able to function and deliver care after an earthquake.

2013 - Present


UC Berkeley undergraduates gained real-world experience in disaster mitigation, including fieldwork in Aizawl, India. They worked with a GeoHazards International mentor and a faculty advisor in earth science or engineering. The program prepared under-represented students for careers in STEM fields and for graduate school applications.

2010 - Present


Concrete-frame-with-masonry-infill-walls is a common building type in low- and middle-income countries. If not properly built, they become lethal during earthquakes. We created the Framed Infill Network--an international group of researchers and professionals--to improve the seismic behavior of these buildings. 

2008 - Present


We partnered with Bechtel India to promote school earthquake safety and to educate students, faculty and parents about earthquake preparedness in Gurgaon, India.

2007 - Present


We developed an earthquake safety manual and training program for hospital administrators and medical staff.  The focus is how to mitigate hazards that could cause death or injury during heavy earthquake shaking.

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