Expert of the Week   for  11 - 17 Aug 2014

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Sushil Gupta

General Manager, Risk Modeling and Insurance

RMSI Pvt Ltd. (RMSI) Expertise:  Disaster management, DRR, urban exposure, vulnerability and risk assessment, coping with climate change, capacity building, resilience; estimation of average annual loss (AAL), loss cost, and probable maximum loss (PML); seismic alarms, early warning systems, Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) site selection and its aseismic design, seismic shake table testing, seismic re-evaluation of older generation NPPs.

Mr Sushil Gupta has over 23 years of professional experience in the field of catastrophic risk modelling, engineering seismology and earthquake engineering, and DRR. He has executed several multi-hazard risk assessment projects related to DRR and climate adaptation as a project manager/team leader that were sponsored by the World Bank, UNISDR, UNDP and Govt. of India. An IITian having an M.Tech. in Applied Geophysics with specialisation in Engineering Seismology and MBA with specialisation in Insurance management, Mr Gupta also obtained advance level certificates in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction with special emphasis on climate change from EPFL, Switzerland; the World Bank Institute, Washington DC and NIDM; and in the field of Earthquake Engineering of Nuclear facilities from ICTP, Trieste, Italy and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai. An author with 55 research publications to his credit, he was one of the ‘Peer Reviewer of UNISDR Global Risk Assessment, 2011’ and ‘UNISDR Expert of Week (2014)’. He is co-author of a book- ‘Coping with Climate Change: Principles and Asian Context’, a Springer Publication. He is the recipient of many awards and honours including 2011 A.S. Arya – IITR Disaster Prevention Award.

Seismic Risk Assessment of a City

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QQuestion by Dr Colonel N M Verma

, .There are rich contributions from experts , yet, the common people in cities are least aware and sensitized to be partners in any kind of initiatives to identify seismic risk to them and to prepare to defeat those. Why ?

Dr Colonel N M Verma Director General | Saritsa Foundation
India

APosted on 04 Feb 2016

This is a repeat question.
Thank you very much Dr Verma for asking such a nice question. I agree to a great extent and  disagree as well. Your observation is very true for the common people of those cities, who has not experienced a damaging (life and property) earthquake in the last 70-100 years or more. This means, 
majority of the common people did not have experience of  a damaging earthquake themselves,and do not  understand how a large magnitude damaging earthquake can inflict colossal damage in seconds/ a few minutes to a city. In fact, this is true for common people at places where they have experienced such a damagaing earthquake and survived. For example, the Jan 26, 2001 Bhuj, Gujarat, India earthquake of moment magnitude 7.7, which created huge loss of life and property. If you talk with common people in Bhuj-
Ahmedabad region about this earthqake, or about any other past/future earthquake, you will fnd that they 
listen to you  carefully and would ask for your guidance.Hence, it is important that common people who did not experience a damaging earthquake are sensitized 
about the earthquake risk and are prepared for prevention and mitigation.

QQuestion by Ms Zarina Nurmukhambetova

We just experienced a rather powerful earthquake but, fortunately, it was far away from populated areas. The govt announced on TV that until the end of 2014 no devastating earthquakes may happen here. Is that possible to predict at all?

Ms Zarina Nurmukhambetova PI | UN
Kazakhstan

APosted on 04 Feb 2016

Dear Ms Zarina 
Thanks for the question. Earthquake damage  depends upon several factors, for example, its magnitude, focal depth, strong motion duration, path characteristics, local site-amplification/ de-amplification, and on structural characteristics (foundation condition, earthquake resistant features, height etc.).
In my opinion, so far, a practical earthquake prediction is not possible and statement like    until the end of 2014 no devastating earthquakes may happen here   are impractical and may provide false sense of security. There are a few examples of successful earthquake prediction but they were mere a chance rather based on sound scientific principles. Had this been the case, a lot of damage to life could have been saved.

QQuestion by Mr PM Sarant

Preparedness can earn money in time of disaster.
Which criteria one have to assess to measure how much money could be earnt by realizing earthquake safety exercices?
Are data available somewhere on that matter
Regards?

Mr PM Sarant CEO | Cynsis.com
France

APosted on 17 Aug 2014

Dear Mr Sarant, 
Thanks for your question. Its really a thought provoking question. 
I fully agree with you that Preparedness 
Thanks for your question. It’s really a thought provoking question. I fully agree with you that Preparedness can earn (save) money in time of disaster. In fact, Preparedness not only save money in time of disaster, but can also save time and most precious lives, and business interruption. A quote from an IASC sub-working group on preparedness PREPAREDNESS is an important investment against natural and man-made disasters. It buys the humanitarian community valuable time to respond more effectively and gives vulnerable people a buffer against the repeated crises which strip away their resilience and push them deeper into poverty. Of course, there is a famous saying that one dollar spent on preparedness can save six dollar on response.  Firefighters, pilots, and doctors do not only trust their experience but also drill and rehearse frequently, which help them to keep their knowledge and skill up-to-date.  Earthquake safety exercises would help in responding to a sudden onset emergency like an earthquake. There are several studies on Economics of disasters from different hazards, however, I did not came across on the earning from earthquake safety exercises. Of course, seismic retrofitting measures implementation can definitely save precious life and property.

QQuestion by Ms John Brogan

How to factor the phenomenon of buildings not constructed to official code? Also, could you describe if/how the modeling accounts for dangers to the population just after the earthquake (loss of services, no access to services, epidemics, etc.)

Ms John Brogan WASH Advisor | Terre des hommes
Switzerland

APosted on 15 Aug 2014

This is an excellent question. Buildings not constrcuted to official code are factored in Vulnerability module, i.e., vulnerability funtions. Generally modeling is carried out for estimation of losses before the occurrence of an impending scenario earthquakes, however this can also be modeled and estimated just after an earthquake. In this case, modeling should take care of this in Vulnerability module, ie, take care through vulnerability functions.

QQuestion by Dr Colonel N M Verma

, .There are rich contributions from experts , yet, the common people in cities are least aware and sensitized to be partners in any kind of initiatives to identify seismic risk to them and to prepare to defeat those. Why ?

Dr Colonel N M Verma Director General | Saritsa Foundation
India

APosted on 15 Aug 2014

Answer: Thank you very much Dr Verma for asking such a nice question. I agree to a great extent and disagree as well. Your observation is very true for the common people of those cities, which has not experienced a damaging (life and property) earthquake in the last 70-100 years or more. This means, majority of the common periole did not have experienced a damaging earthquake themselves,and do not understand how a large magnitude damaging earthquake can inflict colossal damage in seconds/ a few mintes to a city. Infact, this is true for common people at places where they have experienced such a damagaing earthquake and survived. For example, the Jan 26, 2001 Bhuj, Gujarat, India earthquake of moment magnitude 7.7, which created huge loss of life and property. If you talk with common people in Bhuj-Ahmedabad region about this earthqake, or about any other past/future earthquake, you will fnd that they listen to you  carefully and would ask for your guidance.Hence, it is important that common people who did not experience a damaging earthquake are sensitized about the earthquake risk and are prepared for prevention and mitigation.

QQuestion by Mr Olumide Idowu

Great question we have here this week.

I will like to know if our expert can give us an examples of country this is happening presently and what are the measures that have been take? Thanks.

Mr Olumide Idowu Executive Director | Climate Wednesday
Nigeria

APosted on 12 Aug 2014

Dear Olumide Idowu,
This is a indeed an important question. Such inititatives, were/are being taken in several cities worldwide, ofcourse, their scale and details may vary from city to city. For example, Seismic Risk Assessment of Bucharest and Romania; Wellington earthquake Risk Assessment, Newzeland; Earthquake risk asssessment of Istanbul, Turkey; 
Seismic Rik Assessment of Mandalay city, Myanmmar; Earthquake Risk Assessment of Dhaka, Bangladesh; Earthquake risk Assessment of Haiti; Earthquake Risk Assessment of Christchurch city.
The outcome of such studies are helping in term of taking retrofitting measures of buildings that need  strengthening  from risk mitigation perspectives. Also, such studies help in estimation of damage to life and property (built-environment) and social-needs  for response and rehabilitation, in case of an impending disaster due to occurrence of a damaging earthquake.

THIS SESSION CONCLUDED ON

17
August
2014