National Strong Motion Network to Be Updated

National Strong Motion Network to Be UpdatedNational Strong Motion Network to Be Updated

The government has allocated $7 million to support modernization and updating of the National Strong Motion Network, said Dr. Mahdi Zare, faculty member of the Earthquake Research Institute, at a scientific meeting entitled ‘United Nations Program for Disaster Risk Reduction’ on Sunday (May 3).

The meeting organized by the Iranian Road, Housing and Urban Development Research Center at its premises in Tehran, was a follow-up to the third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) which took place in Sendai, Japan on March 13-14 (three days after the fourth anniversary of the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami).

Strong motion seismographs are shoe box sized instruments designed to record the details of very strong ground motions where the traditional high-gain seismographs used to routinely locate earthquakes go off scale. They are often called accelerographs because they measure acceleration of the ground. For complete characterization of the ground movement, ground shaking is measured in three perpendicular directions (one vertical, and two horizontal). Strong motion records of earthquakes are extremely useful to engineers designing earthquake resistant structures.

The meeting aimed to share scientific achievements of the Sendai 2015 conference and discussed topics including the framework for disaster risk reduction, health system, potential effects of Iran climate change on natural hazards, urban innovations to increase the resilience of the city, and Iranian Red Crescent risk reduction activities, said reports from the research center’s website.

 Global Targets

Zare also outlined seven global targets to be achieved over the next 15 years including a substantial reduction in global disaster mortality; a substantial reduction in numbers of affected people; a reduction in economic losses in relation to global GDP; substantial reduction in disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, including health and education facilities; an increase in the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020; enhanced international cooperation; and increased access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments.

Dr. Shekarchizadeh, head of the research center, Dr. Ali Ardalan, Professor of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Dr. Mehri Akbari, faculty member of Khawrazmi University, Dr. Abbas Ostad Taghizadeh, consultant to the Tehran Crisis Prevention and Management Organization and Nasser Charkhsaz, head of Iran Red Crescent’s Relief and Rescue Organization, attended the meeting.

 Greater Attention

Shekarchizadeh in his opening address, said disaster risk reduction has become a global issue. “Natural disasters including floods, earthquakes and storms frequently occur across our country, so the relevant national organizations should pay greater attention to natural disasters,” he said.

An important reason for the establishment of the research center in the early 70s was the frequent quakes that occurred in the decade. While earthquakes have caused less damage in the last decade, however, “this should not detract us from the need to pay attention to disaster risk reduction strategies.” Experiences and strategies from other countries can be studied to protect the environment against natural hazards, Shekarchizadeh said.

 Warning Systems

Zare, who attended the Sendai conference, also said establishing national and local advance warning systems during earthquakes was one of the major topics highlighted at the UN meet. “Impact of climate change and water crisis on natural disasters and converting risk to resilience were also discussed,” he said.

By implementing a three step plan of public training, development of responsible organizations and NGOs, “we can improve risk management in the country.” He pointed to the defined international frameworks for risk management and said their implementation should be placed on the agenda of the relevant organizations.

At the end of the meeting, health and other experts spoke on the national health system, Red Crescent activities, urban innovations that increase resilience and enables cities to better adapt to climate change, etc.

Disaster risk reduction is the concept and practice of reducing disaster risks through systematic efforts to analyze and reduce the causal factors of disasters. Reducing exposure to hazards, lessening vulnerability of people and property, wise management of land and the environment, and improving preparedness and early warning for adverse events are all examples of disaster risk reduction.