What would an earthquake-proof city look like?
By Chrissie Giles Between
1994 and 2013, nearly half a million people around the world died due to earthquakes, with another 118.3 million affected. A further 250,000 deaths resulted from subsequent tsunamis – chiefly in 2004 in the Indian Ocean – and more than 700 from ash fall.
It is collapsing buildings that cause the most casualties, not the earthquake itself – meaning harm-reduction measures can make an impact.
In 2015, the UN general assembly endorsed a 15-year voluntary agreement to reduce the likelihood and impact of disasters around the world. Named after the Japanese city where it was endorsed, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 aims to lower the human and economic costs of natural catastrophes and improve international cooperation.
Nearly 100 countries have Sendai Framework focal points, with four priorities for action. Priority three – “Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience” – covers “building better from the start” using proper design and construction, as well as retrofitting and rebuilding existing structures.