“The dream was to have the eight Balkan countries, some of them formerly at war, sitting around a table writing a joint PSHA (Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Assessment) for the region. At the beginning it seemed impossible to get over a communication deficiency that built up over the years, but the team of scientists involved in the project, progressively developed a spirit of collaboration the point that they requested more funds from OFDA in order to continue working together. Never underestimate the power of your enthusiasm”. Ross Stein (USGS, and GEM Science Board chair) was the promoter of the four workshops held between Pavia and Dubrovnik from November 2013 to March 2014 which were organized with the scope of fostering the sharing of seismic data, learning from each other’s approaches as well as boosting assessments for urban and disaster planning.
During the three-year project the group of scientist coming from Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia worked on a common hazard model, relying heavily on the GEM Strain Rate Model to reduce fault slip rate uncertainties, and using the OpenQuake Engine to perform calculations.
“We hope that the model will provide an impetus for additional earthquake research and seismic, geodetic and paleoseismic data collection as well as an independent reference for comparison to the national hazard models in each of the Balkan countries” – stated Stein at the end of the workshop. - “I think now the best path would be to extend from quake to hazard consequences, focusing on how building codes, retrofitting hospitals and schools, and promoting an insurance market could reduce the damage, dollars, injuries and deaths from earthquakes”.