The importance of on-line educational activities on disaster risk management during COVID-19: On-line web based training activities of the new Turkish building earthquake code secured the uninterrupted continuation of capacity building of experts
One of the basic activities, in order to reduce earthquake-related disaster losses, is the completion of technical regulations for risk reduction with strong implementation and regular updates. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (SFA) which is a global blueprint for the reduction of disaster risks also underlines the importance of building codes and their strong implementation at all levels.
The recently revised Seismic Hazard Map and Turkish Building Earthquake Code are among the two important tools of disaster risk reduction activities. In Turkey, the Specifications for Buildings to Be Built in Seismic Zones (Earthquake Codes) have been revised 7 times between 1947 and 2019 (1947, 1953, 1961, 1968, 1975, 1998, and 2007). Under the coordination of Ministry of Interior, Disaster and Emergency Management Authority, the sole authority in Turkey responsible from disaster and emergency management activities, with the participation of more than 300 experts including academicians, practitioners, representatives of private sector and NGOs, Republic of Turkey revised the Turkish Building Earthquake Code in 2018. The new code came into force in 2019.
This new document with its comprehensive chapters is an important tool in order to achieve seismic safety of buildings and achieve seismic risk reduction at the national level. The secondary legislations for the application of the Code including several technical rules have regularly been prepared and issued.
Good comprehension of both the Code and the Seismic Hazard Map is crucial for practitioners and engineers when designing seismically resistant buildings. With the achievement of a strong and accurate practice of the Code, more resistant construction against the effects of earthquakes will be achieved. In order to achieve the correct and effective use of both the Seismic Hazard Map and the Code, different training and educational activities have been prepared and implemented at the national level.
In addition to the participatory activities like seminars, workshops, and conferences, in order to reach more people and leave no one behind, an on-line training pack was prepared. A distance education module of Turkish Building Earthquake Code started by April 2020 from AFAD’s web site aiming at capacity building and training of academicians, practitioners, and decision-makers, especially from civil engineering and earth science disciplines. In the near future, an online library will be included in this system.
Like in many countries, Turkey also canceled many broad participatory events during Covid-19 and on-line training platforms played an important role in keeping the long term sustainability of capacity building activities in disaster risk management activities.