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GEM completes the TREQ project delivering results that can substantially contribute to the understanding of earthquake risk at the urban/city levels


Sep 15, 2022

After 20 months of project activities, the USAID-supported GEM TREQ project (Training and Communication for Earthquake Risk Assessment) came to a successful conclusion in June 2022. The project worked closely with local partners and scientists to develop the capacity for urban earthquake hazard and risk assessment in Latin America, for the cities of Quito (Ecuador), Cali (Colombia), and Santiago de los Caballeros (Dominican Republic); and to produce training, educational and communication materials for better understanding of earthquake risk.

“The TREQ project demonstrated that local collaboration is critical for addressing both technical and operational challenges related to risk management at the urban scale, and that the integration of local expertise results in stronger ownership and more detailed hazard and risk assessment. The TREQ team also took advantage of challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic to expand training and networking opportunities beyond the three primary target cities of the project, thereby increasing accessibility of project resources and opportunities for local experts to share their knowledge and experiences.” Lindsay Davis, Earthquake Disaster Assistance Team Manager-BHA USAID.

TREQ developed state-of-art models for each city in close collaboration with local stakeholders, backed by 15 technical reports. City profiles have also been prepared for emergency planning activities including multiple earthquake scenarios. For the Dominican Republic, a national seismic hazard model was developed in collaboration with the National Geological Survey (SGN) and local scientists.

In addition, GEM also developed a training manual on Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Analysis (PSHA). This manual presents the basic concepts of classical PSHA and the wide spectrum of alternatives to model seismicity and uncertainties (epistemic and aleatory) in the OpenQuake-engine.

Catalina Yepes, TREQ project manager underscores the importance of the models, saying “Urban seismic hazard and risk assessment results and the selection of earthquake scenarios are vital in the efforts of local and city risk management offices to improve earthquake risk awareness and preparedness, as well as emergency response and mitigation strategies.”

Activities devoted to developing training, educational and communication materials designed for specific audiences helped raise awareness of earthquake hazard and risk at the community level, and helped communicate detailed hazard and risk assessment studies to a wide range of stakeholders: from local experts to decision-makers responsible for the implementation of risk reduction measures.

GEM scientists conducted 32 modular online training sessions using the OpenQuake training website as a platform to explain the basic concepts of earthquake hazard and risk assessment. The project trained more than 600 risk professionals online from 64 countries.

On the academic front, five university professors from Latin America participated in the project’s ‘training the trainers’ program, and developed - in collaboration with GEM - guidelines for the implementation of an undergraduate university course for teaching seismic hazard and risk assessment.

For the general public, the project conducted a two-hour workshop "Am I at risk if an earthquake occurs?" to enhance understanding of risk and raise awareness of its impacts in the community using a tailor-fit video as a discussion-starter in community dialogues.

For complete information about the project and its accomplishments, please visit

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