27 April 2017
PREPARE (Enhancing PREParedness for East African Countries through Seismic Resilience Engineering) is a 3-year Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)-Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) project between May 2017 and April 2020 (total award value of £1.38M). It tackles the global challenge of improving the earthquake disaster preparedness for East African countries by developing integrated earthquake impact assessment tools in close partnerships with local governmental and academic institutions. The project addresses the key scientific challenges in characterising the earthquake rupture potential in the East African Rift zone and applies advanced seismic resilience engineering methods to evaluate seismic vulnerability of unreinforced masonry structures in East Africa (both experimentally and numerically) and to develop effective low-cost solutions for enhanced community resilience.
The PREPARE team is multidisciplinary and consists of; Katsu Goda, Adam Crewe, John Macdonald and George Mylonakis from the Department of Civil Engineering, Juliet Biggs and Michael Kendall from Bristol-Earth Sciences, and Ake Fagereng from Cardiff-Earth Sciences. Many of the Bristol researchers are active in the Cabot Research Institute. The team brings in a unique set of expertise and skills in earthquake, geotechnical, infrastructure engineering, engineering seismology, geodesy, and geology. Through collaboration with local partners in East Africa, PREPARE will transform novel scientific results into practical guidelines and outputs to achieve improved seismic risk reduction.
The research objectives of PREPARE are fivefold: (1) to develop integrated seismic risk assessment tools for East African countries. The tools treat alternative hypotheses and uncertainties associated with hazard, exposure, and vulnerability components comprehensively and consistently; (2) to co-produce a variety of seismic hazard-risk maps and seismic design guidelines in close collaboration with local governmental and academic partners. As part of co-production, bilateral visits of researchers and staff are arranged to consolidate long-term relationships; (3) to improve the knowledge on tectonic behaviour of major fault systems in East Africa by gathering new field data (geology and GPS) and by analysing the regional seismicity data. The new findings will be used to update the fault-based seismic hazard model; (4) to develop bespoke seismic vulnerability models of unreinforced masonry (brick) constructions in East Africa through an extensive experimental programme (i.e. material testing of local bricks and pull-over testing of real-scale brick walls) and advanced structural modelling; and (5) to investigate the effectiveness of low-cost engineering solutions to improve the seismic resilience of the buildings and infrastructure in East Africa.