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Strengthening Bhutan's Resilience: GEM's Collaborative Efforts in Seismic Risk Reduction


Mar 27, 2024

Mar 15, 2024

Thimphu, Bhutan - March 15, 2024. The Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation led by Alejandro Calderon and Catarina Costa concluded a week-long series of activities under the FORCE project in collaboration with USAID - Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA), the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB), and key stakeholders from the Bhutanese government.

Initiated to coincide with GEM's 15th anniversary, the activities commenced with productive meetings on Day 1, where Alejandro Calderon and Catarina Costa engaged in constructive dialogues with key government agencies responsible for disaster management and cultural preservation. These discussions laid the groundwork for collaborative efforts, ensuring that the FORCE project's objectives align closely with Bhutan's specific needs.

Day 2 witnessed a successful workshop titled "Seismic Risk in Bhutan: What we know and where we are headed," bringing together a diverse group of 25 participants from government, academia, and emergency response sectors. Supported by USAID BHA and RUB, this session served as a platform for knowledge exchange on Bhutan's seismic landscape and the strategic goals of the FORCE project.

Building upon this momentum, a well-attended workshop held at RUB's College of Science and Technology in Phuntsholing gathered over 70 participants, including students and faculty members from civil engineering and geology programs. Led by Alejandro and Catarina, this session not only showcased the project's objectives but also laid the groundwork for future capacity-building initiatives within Bhutan's scientific community.

Reflecting on the successful week in Bhutan, Alejandro highlighted the importance of collaborative partnerships, stating, "Our engagement with key stakeholders and the enthusiastic participation from the Bhutanese scientific community underscore the collective commitment towards enhancing earthquake resilience in Bhutan."

Catarina Costa echoed these sentiments, highlighting the significance of knowledge-sharing initiatives in seismic risk reduction. "Through collaborative efforts like the FORCE project, we aim to support local communities with the necessary tools and insights to mitigate seismic risks effectively," she remarked.

The FORCE project's multifaceted approach, covering stakeholder engagement, knowledge dissemination, and capacity building, exemplifies the transformative potential of collaborative efforts in disaster risk reduction. 

With gratitude extended to Bhutanese partners, including the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) and associated institutions, as well as the continued support from USAID BHA, the Foundation remains steadfast in its mission to help create a more earthquake-resilient Bhutan through collaboration.

Learn more about the FORCE project:

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