Learning from Earthquakes: Building Resilient Communities Through Earthquake Reconnaissance, Response and Recovery

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Civil Environmental and Geomatic Eng


Earthquake reconnaissance plays an invaluable role in earthquake engineering, as it enables the collection of perishable data on building performance that are otherwise unobtainable. Such data can be used to prepare damage statistics, calibrate and validate engineering models and crucially, to decide what design and/or construction deficiencies lead to inadequate structural performance. This research goes beyond the immediate needs of engineers as it can provide the evidence base for the development of new disaster risk reduction policies and mitigation practices worldwide.
In the UK, earthquake field investigations have been conducted by EEFIT since 1982, reporting on the damage observed and inspiring research into building standards for earthquake resistant design and assessment. This research will use the experience gained in EP/I01778X/1 to continue and expand important work in reducing and eventually eradicating the risk of significant death, damage to the economy, and social upheaval resulting from earthquakes. This grant will enable UK based academics to continue to participate in earthquake field investigations conducted by EEFIT and to improve coordination with international equivalents in the USA, Australia and New Zealand, and Europe. grow UK earthquake risk reduction activities, improve the dissemination of EEFIT Mission findings and further increase their impact. Not only will this research continue to collect valuable information in the aftermath of a disaster, but it will also develop new methods of collecting and interpreting this data as well and further develop standard international disaster data collection protocols. This data will be housed in a unique future proof repository that will allow researchers and other stakeholders to easily access and use the information This is important as not only will it enable the UK to stay at the forefront of earthquake engineering research, but it will assist donor countries and other organizations to more accurately access the severity of the disaster and therefore to better target the correct amount of resource for relief and rebuilding efforts.


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Description To date we have identified the needs of users for field reconnaissance data storage and display, which have been incorporated into the bespoke Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) and we are in the process of testing this with new field data.

In the case of the 28 September 2018 Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami, we have conducted a reconnaissance mission that has provided data for an improved understanding of the earthquake, tsunami and landslides hazard characteristics of the event. This event provides an exemplar of multi-hazard impact on a community and is the current subject of study by the reconnaissance team. A particular finding is the relationship between the observed massive landslides and the presence of a man-made irrigation channel, that saturated the ground making it more susceptible to landsliding. We have also collected data that is helping us to understand the impact of these hazards on local school infrastructure and on coastal buildings.
Exploitation Route The SDI that is being developed to hold the earthquake reconnaissance data will be used in future earthquake missions and will be a portal for the dissemination and download of reconnaissance data.

The observations made during the 2018 Sulawesi event will inform future research studies on the hazard and resilience of Palu, Indonesia. Furthermore, observations on the built environment performance will feed into current risk models developed by insurers and civil engineering companies.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Education,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy

Description In addition to the impacts reported for EP/P025641/1, the project is working on the development of an Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) for the storage and display of field reconnaissance data of different types. A thorough review of past data captured during field missions has been conducted. A survey has also been concluded, where past participants in EEFIT missions have expressed their aspirations and needs for the SDI. This information has been used in order to design the SDI structure and capabilities. The SDI prototype has been developed and is being tested on data collected during the recent 2018 Sulawesi, Indonesia reconnaissance mission. An immediacy reconnaissance mission has been launched to Indonesia following the 28 September 2018 earthquake and tsunami. An EEFIT Team led by Prof. Tiziana Rossetto deployed to Indonesia in November 2018. The EEFIT Team conducted the field reconnaissance in partnership with the Tsunami and Disaster Management research Centre, Banda Aceh. Whilst in the field the EEFIT Team engaged with the Shelter Cluster (led by International Federation of Red Cross), providing some basic hazards advice relating to where to put camps. The team conducted a meeting with Ministry of Public Works to discuss with them the link between their irrigation channel and the triggering of landslides seen in Palu. EEFIT also focussed on school assessments and general building damage observations, communicating these to Save the Children who are undertaking school rebuilding assistance. Observations from this mission have already been presented to the engineering community in the UK, through a talk organised by the Institution of Structural Engineers and held at the auditorium of the Willis Towers Watson Building in London on 17th December 2018. The observations have also been disseminated to the international academic community through presentation at a special session at the American Geophysical Union Conference. Currently, the observations and related research is being published as an EEFIT Report and through a number of conference papers.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Education,Other
Impact Types Societal

Title EEFIT - Learning from Earthquake pilot questionnaire 
Description A pilot online questionnaire was designed and published by the team's RA Enrica Verrucci to elicit opinions from randomly selected EEFIT members on what is required from a spatial data infrastructure (SDI). The platform is intended to permit better management and sharing of the data collected by EEFIT. The survey asks the responders to evaluate how data is currently being acquired and used before, during and after field missions, and their views on how a framework of geographic data, metadata, and tools can be interactively connected and used to make future earthquake field missions more effective. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The emails explaining the project and the survey was sent out by Allan Brereton, the EEFIT Secretary/Treasurer and helped advertised the ambitions of the EPSRC-funded project to members of IStructE and EEFIT. The results of this survey will be directly used to develop the SDI, which is central to the project. 
URL http://opinio.ucl.ac.uk/s?s=53298
Description Joint reconnaissance mission with the Tsunami and Disaster Management Research Centre, Banda Aceh, Indonesia 
Organisation Syiah Kuala University
PI Contribution Joint reconnaissance mission organisation for the 28 September 2018 Sulawesi Earthquake.
Collaborator Contribution Helped organise the mission logistics, and participated in conducting the mission with 4 members from TDMRC joining the team.
Impact A reconnaissance report is being written jointly with the TDMRC team. We have also presented at the American Geophysical Union Conference in Washington in December 2018. A presentation of the mission observations was made at WillisTowersWatson on 17th December 2018. We have also had an abstract accepted to the SECED2019 Conference, to take place on the 9-10 September 2019 in London. The collaboration involved earthquake engineeris, coastal morphologists, coastal engineers, geotechnical engineers, structural engineers, and a psychologist
Start Year 2018
Description EEFIT-TDMRC Presentation of the 2018 Sulawesi earthquake and Tsunami Reconnaissance Mission Observations 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A presentation of the observations made from the 2018 Sulawesi Earthquake and Tsunami was delivered at WillisTowersWatson building in London on the 17th December 2018. The presentation provided an overview of the impact of the natural hazard events on the local environment, people and infrastructure. Important observations were made on the nature of the landslides that occurred as a result of the earthquake - linking these to the presence of an irrigation channel. The talk sparked significant interest from the academic and professional community, and from Save The Children.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
Description Engagement with Shelter Cluster in Palu, Indonesia 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact The EEFIT team explained the field situation to people in the Shelter Cluster in Palu, who are responsible for the coordination or emergency shelters. They requested clarification of some of the observed hazard and information that had been relayed to them. EEFIT were able to explain in non-technical language their observations and wrote an e-mail with advice on the placement of future shelters, listing areas they thought were unsafe. E.g.

§ Areas West of Irrigation Channel

§ Avoid direct coastline (because ground had lowered)

§ Bottom of steep cuttings
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
Description Presentation at the American Geophysical Union 2018 Conference Special Session on the Sulawesi Tsunami 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A presentation of the findings of the EEFIT reconnaissance mission to Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami were presented at the special session at the American Geophysical Union Conference in December 2018. The presentation added to discussions on the uncertainty of the origin of the tsunami.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
Description Thematic Talk by Prof. Tiziana Rossetto at the ICONHIC2019 Conference including observations from the 2018 Sulawesi tsunami 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Thematic Talk by Prof. Tiziana Rossetto at the ICONHIC2019 Conference in Crete, Greece in June 2019. The Thematic talk is on tsunami engineering from numerical analysis to the field, and includes observations from the 2018 Sulawesi Tsunami. These observations were collected during the field reconnaissance mission in November 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://iconhic.com/2019/speaker/prof-tiziana-rossetto/
Description Video Blog of the 2018 Sulawesi Earthquake and Tsunami Reconnaissance Mission 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A video blog was created whilst in the field during the 2018 Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami reconnaissance mission. The vlog was followed by many, and information in the vlog was used as part of the teaching material in an undergraduate module in Earth Sciences at Edinburgh University, as an example of multi-hazards situation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://eefit-indonesia.com/