Read about our long-term commitment to reduce seismic risk in Nepal and learn how the GEM Foundation, in collaboration with its partner NSET, pledge to "building back better".

The image above points out the paste earthquakes along the Himalayan Front. In particular the event marked 1934 in Nepal was the previous one that seriously damaged Kathmandu.
Quakes from Bilham (2006) & GEM Historical Catalog. Imagery by Volkan Sevilgen

Science in the spotlight 

The Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction took place in March this year and what the 187 member states have agreed, after a long marathon of negotiations, is a 15-year plan made of seven guiding principles and four priorities for action. Precedence in the post-2015 framework was given to implementing activities that will prevent the creation of new disaster risks and that will better tackle all those risk multipliers such as poverty, poor land management, scarce access to trustable data and technology, lack of building regulations etc. that exponentially worsen the consequences for communities. Special attention was given to understanding risk (Priority 1), with recommendations to promote dissemination of science and to facilitate the adoption of new tools and resources.

The importance of science and technology for DRR policy and practice was also extensively expressed in the Science and Technology Advisory Group Report 2015, which provided key commitments on behalf of the scientific community to assist with the implementation of the Post-2015 Framework.  
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HAZARD - advancing science

A newly released hazard wiki, available and accessible from the OpenQuake platform, provides in depth information about a database of PSHA models developed within GEM regional programmes or in collaboration with national research organisations around the world. They represent GEM's adaptation of the original models proposed by National Agencies and International Projects for the purpose of open collaboration and in the hope that it will be useful to the scientific, engineering, disaster risk and software design communities. But interest is growing also from governmental bodies for the adoption of the OpenQuake-engine as the main software to run their own calculations, towards a progressive standardization of data and outputs and a global compatibility of models.

The current version (1.4) has considerably improved its usability and its graphical user interface will ease calculations and data mining (new features introduced in this release are described here). This will boost a wider use of the Engine worldwide and encourage local experts to adopt it for the development of their national or local models.

See below two examples of use of the Engine for national hazard assessment.


Italian Civil Protection using the OQ Engine for national PSHA

We welcome the news that the Seismic Hazard Centre of the Italian Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology will use the OpenQuake–engine for computing the new seismic hazard model for Italy, replacing the one initially released in 2004.

The announcement comes as a result of a long-lasting partnership between the GEM Foundation and Italy throughout the Department of Civil Protection (DPC) and the National Institute of Geology and Volcanology (INGV) and proves the general interest in GEM’s software and in its potential. Since its adhesion to GEM in 2009, the DPC has been supporting actively GEM’s activities and certainly the use of GEM tools for the production of the new national seismic hazard maps will strengthen this collaboration even more.
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Technology transfer in the ME

The four-day workshop organized by GEM in collaboration with the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute (KOERI) on March 14-18 continues the work carried out by the partners in the region and lays the foundation for long-term collaboration.

In the framework of the USAID/OFDA funded project, the workshop was implemented as part of the process to develop tools and methodologies needed to establish a global network of GEM implementing partners. They will have the capacity to perform risk analyses and provide technical support and training in their regions, while working coordinately with the GEM Secretariat in the improvement of methodologies and models according to local needs.
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OQ Engine used in the UNDP Risk Atlas Project for Rwanda 

We recently learnt that the OpenQuake-engine was used for the earthquake hazard assessment of Rwanda and consider it a step in further strengthening the capability of communities and local experts to leverage advanced resources and apply them to meet their needs.

The project involved a team of national/regional consultants with coaching and technical backstopping by UNDP Disaster Risk Assessment specialists from the Headquarter and was led by MIDIMAR and other governmental institutions.
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Louis Gritzo (FM Global) calls private sector to take action for DRR

Louis Gritzo, vice president and manager of research for FM Global
G: Once you said “when you have a partial revelation of the truth and a full revelation of a lie, you’re able to see what is really happening and probe the details for knowledge”. How important is in 2015 leveraging science-based information to reduce disaster losses?

L: Science-based information is the key to unlocking the progression of physical phenomena that lead to disasters and hence provides insight into the best opportunities to reduce losses. Each real-world disaster is a partial revelation of the truth. Regardless of how much is known before a disaster or is studied afterwards, the details remain locked in the physical phenomena that produced the hazard, which can, at best, only be measured in a limited sense. Furthermore, the events that have occurred in recorded history are a small set of those that can occur and will eventually produce disasters. 

Read the full interview here.
GEM staff will be attending the conference and will make three presentations discussing the OpenQuake platform, Social Vulnerability and Integrated Risk tools, and web based data-visualisation techniques.
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