45 participants from 5 South Asian countries participated in a 3-day regional workshop, which was perfectly organized and facilitated by NSET, Nepal’s National Society for Earthquake Technology known for their important work on making Nepal more earthquake resilient.
The workshop brought together experts on hazard and risk in the region and focused on 2 main activities:
- Round table discussions on Socio-Economic Vulnerability and Resilience in the region
- GEM and how to leverage on GEM tools: training in the OpenQuake Engine, the state-of-the-art and open-source software for earthquake hazard and risk calculations
Overarching goal was however to provide an occasion for Nepalese, Bhutanese, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi seismic risk experts to get together, share experiences and work on defining joint activities in the region.
The (expert) meeting
A nice diversity in the group contributed to the success of both the round-table discussions and the training. From government ministries’ representatives to engineers and geologists, constructive talks and discussions were held throughout, leading to invaluable insights into the opportunities and barriers of earthquake resilience.
“ The meeting was in fact a great opportunity for us to understand GEM much better and in the future we look forward for more interaction and better learnings” Prabhakar Rai, Deputy Secretary, Land Revenue and Disaster Management Department, Sikkim.
A summary of the round table discussions can be downloaded from GEM Nexus. The group working in the context of GEM to develop databases, tools and other resources for measuring socio-economic vulnerability and resilience is keen to get your feedback on it, so please leave your comments in GEM Nexus!
The OpenQuake Training
Working simultaneously with 25 hazard and risk scientists on one network, proved to be challenging because of sudden powercuts. The collaborative spirit and interest of all participants in the software and the many ways in which it can be used however made sure that everyone got a sense of its potential.
To learn more about the OpenQuake Engine and how you can also test / use it yourself through the web, check out information on OATS and how to get started.
>> Read more about the event also on NSET's website.
About risk in the region
South Asia is one of the most earthquake prone regions in the world. Six out of the eight countries of South Asia, namely Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh are located within the most seismically active Himalayan - Hindukush belt which has seen some of the worst earthquakes recorded in human history. Parts of the Indian peninsula as well as the island territory of Andaman & Nicobar have major seismic fault lines that have ruptured time and again. Sri Lanka and the Maldives are vulnerable to earthquake-generated tsunamis and a large part of the coastal areas of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan are similarly vulnerable to underwater earthquakes.
GEM in the region
Meetings with key individuals in South Asia have been taking place since 2009, but this workshop gave a boost to collaboration in and with the region. At the moment focus is on Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan, since Afghanistan is already included in the Middle East programme EMME, as well as in the EMCA programme for Central Asia. Indian experts are discussing a sub-regional programme and through NSET in the future we expect to continue to interact and also work with all the individuals and institutions working on seismic hazard assessment and risk mitigation in South Asia.
The GEM Foundation works in many regions of the world together with individuals and organisations on improved earthquake risk assessment. Soon a South Asia page will be created to describe activities in the region in more detail. If you are interested to become involved in such activities or would like to learn more, do contact us!