Radix -Knowing versus Doing

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bd14519_1.gif (968 bytes) Ben Wisner

bd14519_1.gif (968 bytes) Roberto Meli

bd14519_1.gif (968 bytes) Dorothy Tao

bd14519_1.gif (968 bytes) Omar D. Cardona

bd14519_1.gif (968 bytes) Tony Gibbs

bd14519_1.gif (968 bytes) Haresh Shah

bd14519_1.gif (968 bytes) Paul Llanso

bd14519_1.gif (968 bytes) Marjorie Green

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

Dear Ben,

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. hdh@sv.cciglobal.net

Regards, Roberto

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 Tao!


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: skjain@iitk.ac.in.

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: quake@arch.vuw.ac.nz).

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

From 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 Salvador.

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 mitigation measures.

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
Bogota, Colombia
Email: ocardona@uniandes.edu.co



From Mr. Tony Gibbs, Consulting Engineers, Barbados:
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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 Engineering,
Faculty of Engineering, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad
Tel: (868) 663 2060 ext 2503
Fax: (868) 662 4414


Tony Gibbs

From Dr. Haresh Shah, Obayashi Professor of Engineering Emeritus, Stanford University and founder, Risk Management Solutions:

Dear Omar:

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 resolve.

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.

Haresh Shah

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.

Best regards,

Paul Llanso
7bis Ave. de la Paix
C.P. 2300, CH-1211
Geneva 2, Switzerland
e-mail: llanso_p@gateway.wmo.ch or: wcasp@gateway.wmo.ch
tel: (+4122) 730-8268 or: (+4122) 730-8548
fax: (+4122) 730-8042

From Marjorie Green, EERI:
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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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