Disaster Management - Reducing Vulnerability of School Children to Earthquakes (SESI)
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Building Safer Communities through Safe Schools

Like other infrastructure, school buildings are subject to damage and collapse in the event of an earthquake. An unsafe school in a seismic region can incur the loss of the lives of hundreds of school children in addition to the potential damage to the property. On the other hand, a safer school can save valuable lives of children, provide a safe haven for the local community, serve as a temporary shelter and help to bring normalcy back to society in times of disaster.

In addition, the process of making schools safe against earthquakes propagates the seismic safety message to communities. The initiative to make schools safer against earthquakes not only protects school children, but also educates local communities to protect themselves.

Project on "Reducing Vulnerability of School Children to Earthquakes"

UNCRD has promoted the School Earthquake Safety Initiative through a project "Reducing Vulnerability of School Children to Earthquakes" in the Asia-Pacific Region. The project aims to make schools safe against earthquakes and build disaster-resilient communities through a process of self-help, cooperation, and education.

The project includes retrofitting school buildings in a participatory way with the involvement of local communities, local governments, and resource institution, training on safer construction practices to technicians, disaster education in schools and local communities.

These activities are to be carried out in Fiji, India, Indonesia, and Uzbekistan as demonstration cases which will be disseminated throughout the respective geographical regions through regional and international workshops.

Goals and Objectives

To ensure that school children living in seismic regions have earthquake safe schools and that local communities build capacity to cope with earthquake disasters
  1. To enhance the seismic safety of schools through retrofitting of school buildings, disaster education and training of teachers and students
  2. To build safer communities through demonstration of school retrofitting, training of masons and technicians, community workshop, and educational campaigns
  3. To disseminate a culture of safe schools and safe communities through regional and international workshops

Project Components

Seismic Safety of School Buildings

The project includes seismic vulnerability analysis of about 10 selected schools in the project city in each country and the retrofitting of some of them which incorporate prominent construction typologies of the region. This leads to the development of country- specific guidelines on earthquake safe construction which incorporates solutions to the practical problems experienced during school retrofitting.

Capacity Building of Communities

Retrofitting of schools in local communities can act as a demonstration of proper earthquake technology to residents. Masons in these communities get on-the-job training during the retrofitting of schools. In addition, technicians in each project city get training on earthquake design and construction of houses. Consideration is given to local practices, material availability, indigenous knowledge, and affordability of earthquake technology during trainings.

Disaster Education and Awareness

The project includes the development and wide distribution of educational booklets, posters and guidebooks on teachers' training and students' drills for earthquake disaster preparedness and response. The guidebooks gain verification and are updated through training and mock drills. The project also develops an interactive educational tool for awareness-raising on earthquake disasters and simple seismic risk assessment of buildings aiming to motivate householders to plan the seismic upgrading of their houses.

Knowledge and Experience Dissemination

Regional and international workshops on school seismic safety aim to disseminate the success stories and lessons from the project cities to a wider audience. It is expected that distribution of guidelines on safe construction, training manuals for technicians, and education and awareness booklets will help to generate a sustainable demand for the seismic safety of schools and buildings. Educational interactive software on general awareness and risk assessment at the household level will be published in six UN languages to facilitate their wider distribution.

Project Partners

  • FIJI: National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), Ministry of Education
  • India: Shimla city oif Himanchal state, Shimala Municipal Corporation, Shimla District, Himanchal State Gov. Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS)
  • Indonesia: The provincial government of Aceh, National Department of Education, Department of Housing, Institute Bandung Technolgi, UN Habitat, UNESCO, UNDP
  • Uzbekistan: The Government of Uzbekistan, Ministry of Education, Research Institute for Experimental and Typical Building (UzLITTI)

Progress Report

Please refer to the Publications by Disaster Management Planning Unit from here.
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