other Knowing versus Doing pieces and
Report on seminar - The road to recovery and the role of NGOs. A Seminar organized by
Euronaid and VOICE. Brussels, 14 February 2002
Low cost, locally based repair and
retrofitting of non-engineered, rural structures
By Ben Wisner (17 February 2001) Back to the top
RADIX is focused on radical solutions as well as radical
interpretations of disasters. In response to an appeal I sent to dozens of
engineers in all parts of the globe, I have already received several very important
responses (within 24 hours!). I will continue to add to this resource base as suggestions,
resources, and comments continue to come in.
I must add, editorially, that a recovery process that incorporates more resilience and
safety into school buildings, clinics, community centers, etc. is more likely to take
place in the participatory atmosphere created by a national wide (or state wide, possibly
in the case of Gujarat) dialogue about the meaning of sustainable development. This
dialogue needs to be inclusive of all sectors of society and comprehensive. I regret that
early signs form El Salvador suggest that the government is opposed to such a democratic
dialogue. However it is not too late for the government of El Salvador to change its mind.
I have no ideas at this point how recovery planning is being approached in Gujarat. I know
that there is a long tradition of democracy in India and that there are a large number of
very active non-governmental organizations in Gujarat. I would be grateful if anyone could
share with RADIX comments on the potential for, or actuality of, such a dialogue about
sustainable development in Gujarat.
From Dr. Roberto
Meli, UNAM, Mexico City (formerly director of CENEPRED, Mexico's National
Center for Disaster Prevention): Back to the top
I recommend your people to contact ASIA (Asociacion Salvadoreņa de Ingenieros y
Arquitectos). There are specialists there who are well acquainted with practice for safety
evaluation and retrofitting procedures for engineered and non-engineered construction.
Next week a course will be held at ASIA on the subject. A focal point there is Dr. David
Hernandez, Ph (503) 235 0779. firstname.lastname@example.org
From Dr. Dorothy Tao,
Director of the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER) http://mceer.buffalo.edu/, Buffalo, New York, USA:
Back to the top
Ben: In response to the recent Gujarat earthquake in
India, The National Information Centre for Earthquake Engineering at the Indian Institute
of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, India quickly digitized the entire copy of "Guidelines
for NonEngineered Construction " and mounted it on the IIT Civil engineering
Department Web site in full text. This book, which was compiled under the auspices of the
International Association of Earthquake Engineering (IAEE) (which gave permission for the
digitization) is simply written (largely by Professor Arya I believe) and contains many
excellent line drawings and step-by-step directions that apply to traditional housing and
traditional materials. You can access the publication quickly by going into EQNET at: http://www.eqnet.org, looking under the category of
"structural engineering," and then clicking on "Non- engineered
construction." This publication is the best source of information that I know of for
use in developing countries and is very suitable for use in El Salvador. The book can also
be purchased from IAEE. I can send the ordering information tomorrow. I just checked my
e-mail this evening and thought I'd answer right away.
Another source of information is the Newsletter of the Earthquake Hazards Centre (EHC) in
New Zealand, which is devoted to providing earthquake design information for developing
countries. Much of the information is taken from Arya's "Guidelines for
Non-Engineered Construction," Each issue deals with a different topic. Current and
past newsletters are available on the EHC web site at: http://www.ehc.arch.vuw.ac.nz/newsletters/index.html.
Please take a look at this. The "Guidelines" on the IIT, Kanpur site are in PDF
format and can be completely printed and photocopied. If you need additional information,
please let me know and we most likely provide some journal articles, etc.
You certainly can excerpt the "Guidelines" with attribution of course and put
the excerpt on Radix. It may be best to feature the chapters on Adobe and provide a link
to the rest. I will check to see if we have any of this same information in Spanish. I am
also wondering if it is already available from CRID (www.crid.or.cr)
in Spanish and will try to find out. CRID is a disaster information service in Costa Rica.
My impression is that it is very well funded and has an extensive library, database, etc.
So far as collecting, summarizing, and indexing this information, that is exactly what the
MCEER Information Service does. It is searchable on the QUAKELINE database which is on the
MCEER web site at: http://www.mceer.buffalo.edu.
Andit has been my impression that CRID has been producing their own publications on
seismic mitigation/retrofit for the Spanish speaking nations of South and Central America.
I know they have a publication on retrofit for hospitals that is in Spanish.
I will try to pursue this more on Monday. I just searched Quakeline and found an article
that includes a pamphlet in Spanish that contains direction for adobe retrofit. If it is
suitable, on Monday we will scan and mount this publication on EQNET -- and you can either
link to it or copy it.
I'll be in touch.
Again, as follow up from Dr. Dorothy Tao:
Ben, here is the web site of the CRID database: Their virtual library does contain a
number of publications on adobe that are in Spanish. It looks like one is tips for houses,
but my understanding of Spanish is poor. The web address is: http://www.bireme.br/cgi-bin/wxislind.exe/iah/online.
And another generous follow up from Dorothy
When I started to forward this message and the ensuing messages to Sudhir Jain at IIT,
Kanpur, I was very embarrassed to see that I inadvertantly omitted his name. It was 1 am
when I replied to your message, which may excuse the omission a bit.
Professor Jain is the director and initiator of the National Earthquake Information Centre
(NICEE) at IIT, Kanpur and has been a pioneeer in establishing NICEE, a mechanism for the
dissemination of earthquake engineering information in India. In the past year or so he
edited a special issue of the Indian Concrete Journal (name?) on Earthquakes in India and
was recently named to head up the EERI Reconnaissance Team for the Gujarat earthquake.
Sudhir can be reached by email: email@example.com.
Also, the editor of the EHC Newsletter, which I realize once again on looking it over, is
very useful in providing information on low cost retrofit, etc. is Andrew Charleson of the
Earthquake Hazard Centre, School of Architecture, PO Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand.
Location: 139 Vivian Street, Wellington (Phone +64-4-802 6200 Fax +64-4--802 6204 ;E-mail:
Ben, I would very much appreciate your including the attribution and contact information
for Sudhir Jain and Andrew Charleson if you are going to post the messages on RADIX.
Best regards, and thanks. Dorothy
Dr. Omar D. Cardona, University of Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia:
[Lightly edited by Ben Wisner] Back to the top
Haresh, Dorothy and friends, for your information
about guidelines in Spanish:
The Colombian Association for Earthquake Engineering (Asociacion Colombiana de Ingenieria
Sismica (AIS) has a new version of its guidelines for Design, Construction, Repairing and
Rehabilitation of Housing ready. These guidelines cover both masonry and wood- and-
cemented- bamboo. They are special guidelines with hundreds of figures made by experts in
the subject and tested by studies made at full scale in the structural lab of Los Andes
and National Universities in Colombia during last two years (as result of the
reconstruction project supported by government after the earthquake in a growing coffee
area of Colombia in January 1999 [the zone surrounding Armenia, Colombia - Ed]).
The approach of these manuals is interesting because besides the guidelines for new
construction (made several years ago according to the code), they include also chapters
with guidelines to evaluate the vulnerability of an existing house or to make an
earthquake damage assessment with simple forms. According these evaluations, in another
chapter, are details of the type of interventions needed to rehabilitate the house, taking
into account different possibilities similar to the guidelines made by FEMA (306,307,308).
These are written for construction foremen more than for engineers. These manuals are in
Spanish (one of 85 pages, the other of 40 both sides).
At present, the association (AIS) will share the documents with whomever is interested in
promoting them. Some organizations such as the Inter American Development Bank, US-AID
OFDA, The Latinamerican Network on Social Studies and Disaster Prevention (LA RED), are
deciding now the number of manuals that they can issue as partners of the AIS project.
They agree that these manuals provide an opportunity to have some guidelines for El
However, it is necesary to have more partners to have a good covering. Please let me know
if anyone is interested in joining this useful initiative. Of course, training activities
should be also very important thru local organizations in the country to get the better
results in the process of repairing, rehabilitation or reconstruction considering the risk
Shirley Mattingly from EMI could see the quality of manuals recently in Bogota and can
give her opinion about them to any person interested to have other opinion than me...
Greetings, I am in Dominican Republic for this week.
Omar D. Cardona
President, Colombian Association for Earthquake Engineering
Center of Natural Disasters and Risk Studies, University of Los Andes
From Mr. Tony Gibbs,
Consulting Engineers, Barbados:
Back to the top
Ben, Omar and others,
Omar's documents seem to be very suitable.
CENAPRED (Centro National para la Prevencion de Desastres, I think) carried out a research
programme in the 1990s on the retrofitting of masonry buildings by external reinforcement.
CENAPRED is in Mexico City. http://www.cenapred.unam.mx/
There was a contemporaneous programme dealing with
similar issues at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad. The contact
there is Prof Anil Sharma at the Department of Civil Engineering. Of course, their
documents are in English.
Contact: Prof. Anil K. Sharma, Prof. of Structural Engineering, Department of Civil
Faculty of Engineering, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad
Tel: (868) 663 2060 ext 2503
Fax: (868) 662 4414
From Dr. Haresh Shah,
Obayashi Professor of Engineering Emeritus, Stanford University and founder, Risk
Thank you for your e-mail. The guidelines you are alluding to can be extremely useful to
not only rural populations but also to urban communities in developing countries who are
trying to rebuild after an earthquake. I know that in Gujarat India, there is incredible
demand from the displaced population and from those whose homes are heavily damaged as to
what they should do. What standard they should use, what techniques should they use. At
present, there is utter confusion as to who is going to provide the guidance. At times, it
seems like the problems are out of control. My last information indicates that there are
close to one million people who are either homeless or close to it (whatever that may
mean). How do we build for them a safe, sustainable, and culturally acceptable housing at
a cost that is affordable. This is a challenge that we all have to face and need to
The guidelines you are referring to can certainly help for the region they are developed
and can also be used as a starting point for many other regions.
Keep up the good work and let us know if we can be of any assistance.
From Paul Llanso,
World Meteorological Organisation:
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Dear all involved and concerned:
In advising on reconstruction or on reinforcement of existing structures, it is imperative
to incorporate historical and projected climatic and hydrological information into the
development and implementation of codes--to ensure personal safety and property
protection, and to address comfort within the context of sustainability. In an integrated
approach to natural disaster prevention, such codes must accommodate the knowledge of
local climate and climate extremes.
The Permanent Representative of each nation that is a Member of WMO should be contacted
for particular weather information, whether it is observational data or weather forecasts.
The PRs' coordinates can usually
be found through their Internet web sites, which also appear in the WMO Home site under
"Members." The WMO Home site is at http://www.wmo.ch.
Some Members have not listed a web site, but can still provide needed
information by other means. Don't hesitate to contact me if you experience difficulties in
establishing adequate communications for climatic or weather information.
7bis Ave. de la Paix
C.P. 2300, CH-1211
Geneva 2, Switzerland
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or: email@example.com
tel: (+4122) 730-8268 or: (+4122) 730-8548
fax: (+4122) 730-8042
From Marjorie Green,
Back to the top
Ben, a few items that might be helpful to you:
EERI and IAEE are in the process of developing an on-line encyclopedia of housing
construction types in seismically prone areas of the world. We currently have over 30
examples from various developing countries, including El Salvador. Much of this
construction is vulnerable, not resistant, but some has been retrofit and this is
documented for the various construction types. Some of this construction is similar to
school construction. This coming year we will be gathering many more examples, making the
encyclopedia interactive, and focusing more on the information available on retrofit and
strengthening. You can view the encyclopedia as it exists today at http://www.johnmartin.com/EERI.
Also, the National Information Center for Earthquake Engineering at the Indian Institute
of Technology at Kanpur has a couple of useful publications on their web site,
particularly the IAEE developed guidelines for seismically resistant construction in
developing countries. That web site is: http://www.nicee.org
Sudhir Jain or C.V. Murty would be the contacts there.
Hope this helps. Regards, Marjorie Greene
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