Algeria

Development of a Framework for Integrated Seismic Risk Assessment in Algeria: The ITERATE Project

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Andres Abarca, Ricardo Monteiro University School for Advanced Studies (IUSS) of Pavia - Piazza della Vittoria n.15, 27100 Pavia (Italy)

BACKGROUND

In recent years, the use of large scale seismic risk assessment has become increasingly popular to evaluate the fragility of a specific region to an earthquake event, through the convolution of hazard, exposure and vulnerability. These studies have provided quantitative evidence that regions with a significant percentage of non-seismically designed buildings, such as Algeria, are particularly vulnerable to seismic events. Algeria has indeed been hit by past earthquakes in the northern part of the country (e.g. El Asnam 1980 Mw 7.1 or Boumerdes 2003 Mw 6.8), which in each case have caused thousands of fatalities as well as billionaire costs in damages, leaving the country in a state of emergency for extended periods of time. As a result from these events, the Algerian government implemented in recent years several regulations to prevent and manage this situations, demonstrating its political will to promote disaster risk reduction. However, limited resources and capacities, lack of cross-sectoral coordination and, mainly, awareness among several stakeholders have impeded the full implementation of the conceived policies and the current seismic risk is unknown.

The project ITERATE (Improved Tools for Disaster Risk Mitigation in Algeria) is an EU funded project, which aims at disaster risk reduction in Algeria by successfully implementing an improved framework for seismic risk assessment that can be replicated to other natural hazards, making use of a geographical and scientific privileged combination of expertise in Algeria, Portugal and Italy. The project involves a collaboration between 3 main institutions:

  • Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori di Pavia (Italy) – Coordinator

  • Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto (Portugal)

  • Centre de Recherche en Astronomie Astrophysique et Géophysique (Algeria)

METHODOLOGY

The project aspires to empower Algeria's capacity to enforce seismic risk reduction measures through a dual objective: address the lack of state-of-the-art tools for the seismic risk assessment throughout the country, all while engaging local authorities and increasing the awareness of local population and practitioners. Therefore, typical seismic risk assessment tasks, like: fine tuning existing hazard models and developing new exposure and vulnerability models for the characterization of the behaviour of the building and infrastructure inventory, will be complemented with training and outreach events as well as continuous publication of the work progress in the project website (www.iterate-eu.org) and other sources readily available to the public to insure the involvement of identified stakeholders.

In total, the project has been structured in eight operative tasks with objectives ranging from management, technical, social and publicity areas, all under the coordination of IUSS Pavia.