leaving tehran a solution?

13 04 2010

I received an email this morning, which may be a common question and the answer may be of interest to other Tehranies, especially as we are having many earthquakes around the world lately:


Email from Ms. XX:

Dear Shideh & Shawhin,

I was surfing internet to find information on Tehran earthquake and came across to your weblog. As a solution President announced that 5 million people should leave Tehran enabling his government to control the aftermath of Tehran earthquake.

As a professional person I can not simply escape from Tehran on fear of death. I rather prefer to find a better solution. Do you have any suggestion ?

I will appreciate if you could provide me with alternative solutions to minimize the effects of such possible disaster.


My response to Ms. XX:

Thank you for your email and great question.

This is a complicated matter and I’m sure many people in Iran and IIEES (International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology in Tehran) are working on a reasonable plan for effective disaster management of the city. I am not sure, however, what the extent of their research and implementation of their research results are. This is a complex and difficult problem everywhere in the world and even San Francisco has many problems in terms of its policies/plans/reaction during disasters.

To give you a quick answer: it is difficult to propose an effective disaster management plan for a city like Tehran with so many complications. I have a few ideas but they need to be studied extensively from many different perspectives. On a personal level, however, there are easier instructions to follow. I would not recommend leaving the city as a feasible option for most people, like you. The concentration of opportunities and resources has made it impossible for many to leave the city. If the president wants to see 5 M people leave, he should start a long-term plan of better redistributing the country’s resources (may be he is already doing that, I’m not sure).

So, I completely understand your concern. If you want to stay in Tehran, I suggest you contact “nezam e mohandesi” or the city authorities and find out how you can have them check the structural integrity of your building (where you live and where you work). They might have guidelines or they may send you a city inspector to help you figure out whether your building requires seismic retrofit or has obvious design flaws that are dangerous. If you do require retrofit, I highly recommend that you invest in fixing your building (no matter how much it costs) and also try to educate others about the risk of a major earthquake in Tehran and what they can do.

Also, please see the instructions on what to do during, before, and after an earthquake on FEMA’s website:


Make sure you know what to do during a major earthquake well and also read the instructions on what you can do prior to an earthquake. It is very important. Aside from these, you are at risk constantly but most of us are facing high risks regularly every where in the world. Getting into a fatal accident while driving, for example, is a much higher risk that we are exposed to regularly. Here in San Francisco, we are also facing a high risk of an earthquake and we have bad structures that may collapse. So, don’t worry excessively. Just be prepared for the earthquake, know that it will happen, do what you can in terms of educating others about the risk and what they can do to help.  Remember that it is not the earthquake that is the killer, it is our buildings.

On a larger level, we need to make people aware of their responsibilities to their city and society at large. If you know engineers, architects, contractors, and “besaas befroosh” people who may not be practicing in an ethical manner, please communicate your fear of earthquake with them and ask them to be responsible in their design. A corrupt system is very dangerous in construction. I think even one conversation can be effective at times.




14 responses

13 04 2010

I have one more advise for your reader. Redistribute your wealth in assets that are not tied in Tehran. Buy some property outside Tehran or try to invest in a small business in for example North of Iran. When earthquake happens even if they survive the event itself I highly doubt that the properties will be retrievable. With no earthquake insurance infrastructure the losses cannot be compensated and businesses will be interrupted for a long time so they most probably have to leave the city at that point for a good time if not forever.

Last time I was in Iran I also saw some food/fuel distrinution centers. They may want to locate the closest one in their district.

14 04 2010

Thank you Pantea. Great comment.

18 04 2010
Soraya Nazemi

Dear Shedeh,

Would it not be better to leave Tehran and go somewhere else in Iran? if so what part of the country (Iran) is the safest?

I would appreciate your reply and suggestion,

Thank you

31 07 2010

Dear Soraya,

thank you for your comment. I don’t know if you are able to leave Tehran. If you can, it may be a good idea to move to a place with less buildings and make sure that your building in the new place is built properly.

I’m not sure if any part of Iran is risk-free in terms of earthquake safetly. However, where there are less buildings, it is safer. The entire country has a high risk of large earthquakes and there are many faults going through it (a map included in the “Tehran Map” tab above). If you are away from buildings, the risk is lower. But that is not always possible.

As I explained in this post, for most people it is not possible to leave Tehran and in that case, I would follow the recommendations above.

Thank you again and stay in touch,

18 04 2010


I’ve really enjoyed your blog and have found the past week’s news on the government’s attempts at quake “readiness” fascinating. But I am writing with a question.

I cannot find an accurate population estimate of Tehran. The municipality of Tehran on its website claims it is around 11 million (as of 2006), and I’ve read other sites that list it as large as 13.5 million. Do you have any ideas? I feel like we can’t begin to talk about population relocation until we determine the actual size of the population.


31 07 2010

Dear Mana,

many thanks for your comment. You are absolutely right. It is hard to find accurate statistics on everything in Iran. This makes decision making and risk analysis very difficult. I don’t know a good source for the population estimate but will definitely let you know if I find any.

I wonder if the World Bank is a better source than our own government? I’m not sure.

5 06 2010
a freind

Congrats for the new academic position.
Wish you all the best.

17 08 2010

Media Glucose for life molecul like infus re New individual At lbotry

17 08 2010

Let we … with mass nucleon selenoid

F = 1 – (V/R)*f

R = R(/room) * (l/A)

we know
I = m*c (/room)
m*c = m*V

R = V*(1-(1/m(/room))

room = F/(I – m*R)

I = V/R

18 08 2010

From that…… F

F(Besi berani)
m*c = 1

m*c = m(nucleon)*V

With m = Weight =====>>>>> (m*c)/m = v

V = v*(1-(1/m)

Room = F/(m(nucleon)*V)*f(Hz)

I = F/Room*f(Hz)

Strainght = I*R

I = m(nucleon)*V ====>>> Straight = m*V*R(….)

Evrythink is right equation

18 08 2010

Continue (Henry continue in application / Selenoid Henry)

(Q) Capacitancy as couple/filter (of wave/ one way no (V) inside =====>>>> then to another.
(R) at (-) and to couple (Q)

I(Out) ====>>> (Q) = Q*f(Wave)

f for I = and for Q

18 08 2010

Out of amplifier

Continue (Henry continue in application / Selenoid Henry)

(Q) Capacitancy as couple/filter (of wave/ one way no (V) inside =====>>>> then to another.
(R) at (-) and to couple (Q)

I(Out) ====>>> (Q) = Q*f(Wave)

f for I = and for Q

20 08 2010

From that Equation…

Menanggapi rumus tersebut…!

From …………. P atm

n*F*dh = n*m*g*dh

n*m(/room)*g*A*dh = m*g*dh*n

n*m*sqrt(g*dh)*A = (m*g*dh*n)/sqrt(g*R)

n*m*sqrt(g*dh) = (m*g*dh*n)/sqrt(g*dh)*A

l = dh (R*l = A) (/room)

n = R/dh

n*m*sqrt(g*dh) = (m*g*dh*n)/sqrt(g*dh)*(R*l)

n*m*sqrt(g*dh) = (m*g*n)/sqrt(g*dh)*R

n = R/dh

n*m*sqrt(g*dh) = (m*g/sqrt(g*dh)*R)*(R/dh)

n*m*sqrt(g*dh) = m*g/sqrt(g*dh)*dh

n*m*V1 = m*g/V1*dh

Ibarat kita buat V1 dan V2 dai n*V1

If we change V1*n = V2 everythink is no diferrent

n*sqrt(g*dh) = V2 dan n*sqrt(g*dh) = V1

m(/room)*V2 = (m(water froozen)*g)/(V1*dh)

m(/room)*V2 = (m*g)/(V1*dh)

13 06 2012

Congratulations, finally I found something woth of following. Dear Shide & Shahin, I am an Artichect working in London and Berlin. I have experience working with earth or mud as building material. I really would like to work on/with Iran for architectural as well as for earthquake resistant structures.
I would be glad if you could recommend my anything/anyone, who is active in the same field, if obviously you know something by any chance!
You can contact me on my email address: sarittta@gmail.com

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