Keeping Schools Safe in Earthquakes

image of Keeping Schools Safe in Earthquakes

Earthquake-prone communities need earthquake-resistant schools. In 2002, a primary school in San Giuliano, Italy, collapsed killing 29 children and one teacher. In May 2003, a medium-sized earthquake in the city of Bingöl, Turkey, caused the collapse of three new schools and a dormitory, killing many children as they slept. All too frequently, earthquakes cause the collapse of school buildings and the injury and death of staff and students. Further, when schools are closed because of earthquake damage, education is hampered, community life disrupted, and potential emergency shelters unavailable. Where school attendance is compulsory, communities have an obligation to provide a safe study and work environment.

Why do schools collapse even during moderate earthquakes? Experts agree that many collapse due to avoidable errors in design and construction. Often, the needed technology is not applied and laws and regulations are not sufficiently enforced. Application of existing knowledge can significantly lower the seismic risk of schools and help prevent further injury and death of school occupants during earthquakes. Moreover, this can be accomplished at reasonable cost and within a reasonable period.

Keeping Schools Safe in Earthquakes presents expert knowledge, opinions and experiences, and provides valuable insight into the scope of problems involved in protecting schools and their occupants. Its recommendations are a call to action to all governments in OECD and partner countries to help facilitate their implementation.

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Identifying Strategies and Programmes for Improving School Seismic Safety

Programme on Educational Building

The practical obstacles to promoting school seismic safety concepts and principles are numerous, and the stories recounted in this report demonstrate that in many cases there are more impediments than incentives to achieving a culture of safety. In developing countries, implementing a strategic programme is further complicated by such factors as lack of local expertise, shortage of fi nances, disagreement between external experts and scarcity of materials. In a European context, while the material, fi nancial and human resources exist to establish a number of programmes for screening, evaluating and strengthening existing buildings in earthquake-prone countries, much greater regulatory effort is required in all countries to signifi cantly reduce the highest risks to public buildings. In this section, the experts were invited to describe the application of known seismic ...


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