lessons from the tragedy in haiti

27 01 2010

[By SD]   I went to a very interesting seminar yesterday at Berkeley on the preliminary reconnaissance of the tragic Haiti Earthquake. You can watch the entire webcast on:


You can find the photo collection of the speaker (Eduardo Fierro) at:


My overall impression was that:

1) This disaster was tragic, but unfortunately not unique. Similar to many developing countries, the tragedy was not caused by the earthquake, but by bad construction and related policies

2) We, as engineers, can help Haiti through grassroots actions, organizations, and networks, such as Build Change or GeoHazard International Read the rest of this entry »

our proposed uRespond concept sketches for the “random hacks of kindness” event

7 11 2009
URespond advisor's presentation.006-001

simple rapid user input

URespond advisor's presentation.007-001

mapping of local user updates

current emergency response protocol

Read the rest of this entry »

tehran’s minor earthquake on saturday

19 10 2009

Tehran experienced a minor earthquake (Richter magnitude 4) on Saturday at 2:23 pm local time (http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=205750). It seems that most Tehranies felt this shake. There is now a widespread fear of aftershocks and possibly bigger earthquakes due to more activities on the Eivanaki fault in southeast Tehran. Since information on the historical activity of this fault seems to be limited, it is difficult to make accurate probabilistic predictions on the likelihood of an aftershock. But it is certainly possible and quite likely to have another earthquake soon (not necessarily related to this particular fault movement). Tehran sits on major active faults and suffers from a large seismic risk due to fault activity, poor construction practice, and large population. The occurance of this recent minor earthquake may have influenced the stresses in the surrounding faults and might have increased the existing seismic risk facing Tehran.

 tehran map

Tehrani residents, engineers, contractors, general public, please be aware and pay attention to this important risk that you will have to deal with sooner or later. To learn how to protect yourself before, during, and after an earthquake, visit this site by FEMA: http://www.fema.gov/hazard/earthquake/index.shtm

In two of our previous posts, we also had some good discussion on earthquake preparedness in Tehran:



Tehrani engineers, architects, and contractors: I assume that you already know how to make earthquake resistant structures in a cost-effective way. If you have questions/concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I will try my best to send you information on the current state of practice (in structural and geotechnical design) for your specific project. If you are not convinced about the risks facing your city and need more information on the probability of earthquakes in the coming years, also please don’t hesitate to let me know or contact someone at IIEES in Tehran (http://www.iiees.ac.ir/). Keep in mind that you are responsible for your building, and negligence and lack of knowledge are not acceptable any more.

iran’s population density

11 10 2009

A very interesting way of graphically showing the population density, and hence the earthquake risk facing different parts of Iran (based on their vulnerability):

iran population density

understanding earthquakes and effects

6 10 2009

Great overview of our progress and current understanding of earthquakes since the 1906 great San Francisco earthquake:

image reflection

29 09 2009

Tehran has been going through many shakes in the last few months following the presidential elections. These shakes, have, of course been non-seismic! This blog is meant to address the critical issues facing Tehran’s infrastructure and vulnerabilities, so it stayed quiet. However, although, during this sensitive time, infrastructure and role of engineers may seem to many of us as un-important or the last item on our list of priorities, it is in fact a fundamental step toward the common goals of all Iranians, regardless of their political agenda or crises.

Tehran remains to be highly divided and the government seems more divided than its subjects. But that is not my concern, as I’m sure many others are working on that. I am actually concerned about that part of us responsible for our own daily actions. I hear that construction projects are more or less dead in Tehran these days but are starting to move forward gradually. In the past few months, we have all been shaken hard by the wave of excitement and tragedies of our fellow Iranians. We all feel like we’ve been hit in the head a few times every day, watching the news or video clips of new stories. It’s draining, I know. But I also know that we always have a tendency to criticize others and not ourselves – the easiest job in the world.

Let me start with myself: I am trying hard to, as we say in Persian, not forget my mirror when I want to criticize others, including my friends, parents, teachers, and leaders. Read the rest of this entry »

tehran disaster management

13 05 2009

[By SD]   I came across this link yesterday and thought it might be interesting to TehranShake: www.tdmmo.ir13850810-204031-portal2


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