EEFIT mission: September 2023 Morocco earthquake

Lead Research Organisation: CARDIFF UNIVERSITY
Department Name: Sch of Engineering


Following Morocco's significant earthquake on September 8th, 2023, with a magnitude of (Mw) 6.8 and over 3,000 casualties affecting around 6.6 million people, the United Kingdom's Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation Team (EEFIT) has initiated a critical mission. Their primary objectives include conducting a thorough analysis of the intricate relationship between earthquake and rainfall-induced landslides. Furthermore, they are dedicated to evaluating the performance of structures and infrastructure during the seismic event and understanding the impact of landslides on Morocco's remote High Atlas Mountains region.

This ten-member team consists of academic and industry experts, alongside young researchers undergoing field data collection training and safety protocols. They will spend approximately one week in Morocco in mid-January. Through meticulous data collection and observations, assisted by local experts, the team aims to gain profound insights into the causes of failures, the triggers of landslide occurrences, and the compliance of the built environment with design standards. They also seek to identify potential improvements in local construction techniques.

After the field investigation, ongoing local monitoring will continue, with a focus on the evolving landslides expected due to forecasted rainfall over the coming months. Local contacts will oversee the recovery of structures and infrastructure, gathering information on repairs and the construction of new houses, bridges, and roads. In mid-April, a subsequent mission will take place, featuring a smaller team of four experts revisiting Morocco. Their objective is to collect additional data regarding the evolution of landslides and the restoration of functionality in the built environment.

Throughout this process, the acquired data will undergo comprehensive analysis using state-of-the-art disaster management tools, incorporating satellite imagery and data from various online platforms. These tools provide a wide-ranging perspective across extensive regions, enabling the development of specific models aimed at understanding landslide mechanisms and predicting risks. The ultimate goal is to develop assessment strategies that make future disasters less dangerous for the built environment.

Once tested in Morocco, this approach - integrating field data with satellite imagery using advanced disaster management tools - holds the potential for application in similar contexts. Findings will be shared with the research community and professional engineers through lectures, journal papers, and conferences. This approach enhances the understanding and application of knowledge related to the interconnected phenomena of landslides triggered by earthquakes, their impact on local communities, the built environment, and the potential consequences of heavy rainfall. This enriched knowledge will lay the foundation for predicting the effects of cumulative and cascading catastrophes and raising awareness of the importance of disaster preparedness.


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