Earthquake Risk of Schools

Issues of enduring significance specific to Nepal and those that affect all Nepalis. Examples are our vulnerability to earthquakes, flooding in the Terais
Ganesha
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Re: Earthquake Risk of Schools

Postby Ganesha » Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:56 am

A wise friend of mine alerted me to two Nepali websites that directly deal with earthquakes in Nepal.

The first one is called, National Society for Earthquake Technology-Nepal (NSET). With the motto of bringing “substantial change in the application of technology to the many facets of earthquake disaster management for saving the lives of the [Nepali] people”, NSET is a non-governmental organization that works on earthquake risk management. They say, it is one of a kind in Nepal doing some pioneering work in the Nepali context.

The second one is called, National Seismological Center and has archives of earthquakes in Nepal since 1994. It primarily seems to be working on Microseismic monitoring in Nepal.

Please let us know if you come across any new sites/organizations of this kind in Nepal.
aawartan.org - nepali forum

sthapit
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Re: Earthquake Risk of Schools

Postby sthapit » Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:40 am

Interesting thread. I've been involved in constructing a 4 story building + basement in Ktm. I'm a recent PhD in Earthquake engg. from Berkeley (SEMM), studied structural mechanics at MIT (Course 1) and Georgia Tech (CE), and also have some background in Architecture and Interior design. Since I have some background on the topic I'll put in my two cents. Let me start with a short story.

I was at a party a few years ago and I overheard two good looking girls talking to each other as they were leaving. "This party sucks" said one to the other. "Yeah, it's full of engineers" said the other. And off they went, I presume to a party that was more fun (well, fun as defined by the rest of the population - I'm sure the party was plenty of fun to all the engineers attending).

In terms of the slides and this conversation - I think it's very fun... for intellectuals [who] discuss nepal. But I think we need to be honest with ourselves. Are we discussing this for the sake of discussion or do we want to make real changes. If it's the former, then I think this conversation is appropritate and one that I'm very comfortable and familiar with.

However, if we want to make real changes, if we are really interested in saving lives and help Nepalis change how we build our buildings (and yes schools) then we need to dig deeper. There are plenty of places to get information and papers on proper building mechanics and methodologies, many times for free in journals and online. There is plenty of good talent in Kathmandu, both for building and designing EQ resistant structures. That's not the issue.

The issue is how we present this to the public. We need to make safety attractive. Proposing that we make our buildings regular/symmetrical in shape does NOT help anyone. The public does not care about ductility demands and natural periods *yawn nor do they need to know about it. Instead we have to be able to sell attractive buildings that are also safe which in turn will bring in more rental income to building owners because... the building is attractive and safe. It's taken some cajoling but this is the building I'm involved in currently - http://spaces.sobenepal.com/mondrian. Notice that it's not symmetrical - in fact it's from the De Stilj movement which totally avoids symmetry. It took more work but this building is EQ resistant as well. It goes back to my story about the girls leaving the party. It takes more work but to engage the rest of the population EQ engineers have to understand and incorporate affordability, good design, and practicality in addition to hard earthquake engineering research to make any changes.

This way everyone wins. Kathmandu will have better looking buildings which will make living here more bearable (most of the time I want to gouge my eyes out with all the new construction going on here with no effort towards design) while also killing much less people next time an EQ hits Ktm. And engineers will be seen less as the dorks we all really are (“substantial change in the application of technology to the many facets of earthquake disaster management for saving the lives of Nepali people" - anyone who says "many facets of earthquake disaster management" in public is a dork) and attract more people of the opposite sex while also being able to have "intellectual" discussions. Everyone wins!

kazi
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Re: Earthquake Risk of Schools

Postby kazi » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:12 am

Well now that you put it that way, EQ somehow seems less dorky.. wink wink. No doubt your credentials make you an expert in this field. By the same reasoning, my lack of expertise makes me the *fun-loving* people. And therefore, I'd like to put in my two cents also.

Considering that the basic safety regulations are met, I think the most attractive part of the design for people like me is the cost. As you so rightly mentioned, we really do not care about the technical details of the design. We just want to cost to be low and to say, "Wow, this engineer knows his stuff, and that too at such a reasonable price. You should try this engineer also." So yes, marketing is a huge part of the success for EQ disaster prevention. I think another way to charm you into the business is minimum cost.

And yet the job of the engineer does not end with design. If the materials have to be imported from Peru, I really do not think I would be happy. I would like an engineer that would give me a whole package. In other words, I need this and that, which could be obtained from here and there at such and such price. I hope I am not demanding too much.
--
"Mother and motherland are more precious than heaven." But that does not mean we must cling to our mothers. The least I can do for Nepal is to bring awareness among the Nepali people. And this Nepali forum is the platform for me.

kalewakids
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Re: Earthquake Risk of Schools

Postby kalewakids » Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:36 pm

Sounds like useful information. But what are the criteria to decide whether or not a school is safe from earthquake or not? Can you suggest some guidelines (if any) to distinguish schools that are threatened from those that are not.
Last edited by Ganesha on Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: edited for clarity

kazi
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Re: Earthquake Risk of Schools

Postby kazi » Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:35 am

I think the criteria that @kalewakids is referring to is interesting and perhaps even critical to mitigating risks posed by EQ to schools. I am a bit skeptical as to whether a general set of criteria can be used because it includes not only the man-made design and structure but also an indepth geological study of that location. The up side is that the geological study is a one-time evaluation and its costs can be distributed over the multitudes of man-made structures. Just my take on the issue. But I would gladly defer to the experts' opinions.
--
"Mother and motherland are more precious than heaven." But that does not mean we must cling to our mothers. The least I can do for Nepal is to bring awareness among the Nepali people. And this Nepali forum is the platform for me.

kalewakids
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Re: Earthquake Risk of Schools

Postby kalewakids » Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:46 am

there should be something....some criteria against which we can say that this school is vulnerable and is at to earthquake...if anybody can suggest some..i am waiting for the reply....

kazi
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Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:55 am

Re: Earthquake Risk of Schools

Postby kazi » Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:00 am

I agree @kalewakids in that there should be some guideline for building structures. Hopefully there is some guideline to recognize structures with high EQ risk also.
--
"Mother and motherland are more precious than heaven." But that does not mean we must cling to our mothers. The least I can do for Nepal is to bring awareness among the Nepali people. And this Nepali forum is the platform for me.


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