Archives for August 2013

September Newsletter Available

You may download the EERI newsletter, September 2013 issue (PDF).

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Housner Fellows Visit to Ghana 8/29/2013

Day Four: Meeting Ghana Earthquake Society (GhES) Members

Fourth day of the Housner Fellows was another successful one in their visit to Ghana. This day marked the end of their task as some of the Fellows will be leaving on Friday. This meeting was very important as it created a platform where the GhES will take over mantle when the Housner Fellow completes their group project in Ghana.

The meeting with the Ghana Earthquake Society came up with constructive ideas from both the Fellows and members of GhES. It was a wrap up of activities the Fellows have done in Ghana, below are some of the discussed ideas.

–  Need to come up with a legally binding design code for Ghana

–  Need for outreach to universities & introduce topics related to earthquake engineering

–  Need to shift to project management / cross – functional approach rather than segmental.

After the meeting each Fellow was given a KENTE (traditional Ghana piece of cloth) from the Ghana Earthquake Society.

In the afternoon the Fellows had another successful meeting in which they discussed progress on their individual projects. It was nice to hear how each Fellow is / has contributed positively to the overall goal of George Housner “Advocating for Seismic Safety” in their respective countries.

Later during the day the Fellows went for sightseeing across Accra.
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Housner Fellows Visit to Ghana 8/28/2013

Day Three: Design & construction collaboration

Today was our third full day of meeting with various seismic safety stakeholders here in Accra – this time focusing on our architect, engineer, and contractor colleagues. We began the day with a morning workshop at AESL (Architectural & Engineering Services Limited). Our intent of the workshop was to explore the post-earthquake role of schools while also identifying potential ways to improve the seismic performance of new designs. Ali and Cale began the workshop with a brief presentation related to past earthquake performance of construction types similar to those currently used in Ghana. This included non-ductile concrete performance observed in ChiChi, Kashmir, and Christchurch among others. We then had an interactive conversation many of the architects and engineers with AESL and left the meeting feeling quite satisfied that we had all learned from each other. A particularly rewarding moment of the morning was when one of the younger AESL structural engineers suggested a simple solution to the captive column issue would be to create a gap by placing styrofoam between infill walls and the adjacent columns.

After the workshop, a couple of AESL engineers joined us for lunch at a restaurant inside of the landmark National Theatre before we departed for our afternoon meeting with the Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana. The ABCECG office was across town and on our way we passed one of the largest markets in Accra. Unfortunately we did not have time to stop for shopping – perhaps tomorrow!
We found the contractors to be very interested in improving the standard of practice and ensuring consistent levels of quality across all regions and all projects in Ghana. Carlien presented their president with an EERI pin and encouraged them to become active in the research institute and the newly-formed Ghana Earthquake Society.

Our evening concluded with a technical lecture at the Ghana Institution of Engineering where Ali and Cale shared lessons from past earthquakes and Kate introduced GEM (Global Earthquake Model) and their goal of earthquake resilience worldwide.

One encouraging note is that our presence here has been noticed by the local media. Carlien was featured on the news last night and the NADMO meeting and ShakeOut were mentioned in a few print news outlets. Tomorrow we will meet with the Ghana Earthquake Society to brainstorm seismic safety initiatives and strategize how to advance them with the collaboration of the various stakeholder groups we have met so far this week.

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AESL workshop

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Lunch at National Theatre with AESL engineers

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Contractors Association

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Market in Accra

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Technical lecture – Ali and Cale present on lessons from past earthquakes and Kate introduces GEM

Housner Fellows Visit to Ghana 8/27/2013

Day Two:  i) Workshop with NADMO; ii) Leadership Lecture; and  iii) Meeting with the Deputy Minister, Education

The second day in Ghana was a very busy day for Housner fellows. Participation at the workshop with National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) was more than our expectation. More than 100 participants joined in from NADMO, administrators from various schools in Accra and members of Ghana Earthquake Society. The presentations from Housner fellows (Hassan, Ali and Cale) were very well appreciated. And an interesting group discussion followed the presentations with all participants enthusiastically participating and sharing their experiences and concerns about earthquakes. The discussions were very well moderated by Kate.

The leadership lecture delivered by Lucy was organised by WINE (Association of Women Engineers in Ghana) and was very well received. It was a very motivating interaction. Engineers keenly listened and asked some interesting questions. And all this was accompanied with an excellent lunch.

Next on the agenda of Housner fellows was to have a meeting at the Ministry of Education who lays out policies for all the schools in Ghana. We were very well received by the Deputy Minister, Education and his team of officials. Very concerned about earthquake safety of their school children, they keenly listened to Housner fellows. Appreciating the school project undertaken by Housner fellows, the Minister hoped there would be a way to carry forward this work in long term.

And the day ended only after we all received an extremely warm welcome by Carlien’s lovely family at her beautiful home. It was such a pleasant evening with Mr. Nabil (Carlien’s husband), a great animal lover and a chess player and Zenoya (Carlien’s daughter), a famous and celebrated model. Of course, all the conversation was accompanied by some excellent snacks made from yam, beans and plantains.

Here are some pics of the day.


Morning workshop with members from NADMO, the Ghana Earthquake Society, and administrators from local schools in Accra.


Presentation from Housner Fellow, Cale.


Following the presentations, Kate moderates the discussion over earthquake experience and concerns.


Enthusiastic audience participation in the discussion moderated by Kate.


Lucy delivers a leadership lecture, organised by the Association of Women Engineers in Ghana.


A delicious lunch during Lucy’s lecture.


Afternoon meeting with the Ministry of Education to discuss earthquake safety improvements in schools.


The Housner Fellows meet with the Deputy Minister, who is very concerned with keeping the children safe.



Meeting Carlien’s family in her beautiful home.

Lake Almanor, USA

May 23, 2013, M5.7 Earthquake

Available Information



Housner Fellows Visit to Ghana 8/26/2013

Day One: Meeting the Chiefs

Housner Fellows spent the first day of our visit to Ghana following the ancient tribal custom of ‘meeting the chiefs.’ We introduced ourselves and presented small gifts of gratitude to: Ghana Institution of Engineers (GhIE), engineering firm Architecture and Engineering Services, Ltd. (AESL), and the Consulting Engineers Association. We were given warm hospitality, and took lots of photos. We were also given a gracious and eye-opening tour of a 3-story high school classroom building for 600 students that is under construction. So far we have found our colleagues to be interested in earthquake safety and eager to improve the engineering and construction practice.

This evening we are busy preparing for a meeting and presentation tomorrow with the Ghanaian National Disaster Management Organization together with school administrators.

Tasty highlights include ripe fried plantains, okra stew, and banku, moist bread made of fermented, steamed corn, a bit like polenta.


Day1_3Housner Fellows Cale R. Ash, Syed Mohammed Ali, Hassan Steven Mdala, Kate Stillwell, Vivek Rawal, and Carlien D. Bou-Chedid arrive in Ghana.

Day1_4(From left to right) Vivek Rawal, Syed Mohammed Ali, Carlien D. Bou-Chedid, Cale R. Ash, Kate Stillwell, Hassan Steven Mdala.

Day1_5Tour of a three-story school under construction.

Day1_7Meeting with GhIE, AESL, and the Consulting Engineers Association.



Day1_8A warm welcome by ‘the chiefs’ to Ghana.

Day1_6Housner Fellows with members of local engineering organizations.

Press Release: Advancing Earthquake Safety of Schools: EERI Housner Fellows Visit Ghana


Media Contact: My Lac Davidson | + 1 510 451 0905 |

OAKLAND, CA, USA, 26 August, 2013 – International leaders in earthquake risk reduction are visiting Ghana this week to advance earthquake safety of schools. Housner Fellows of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) will meet and build alliances with the Ministry of Education, the National Disaster Management Organization of Ghana (NADMO), the Ghana Institution of Engineers (GhIE), Architectural and Engineering Services Ltd. (AESL), consultants who design new schools, as well as school administrators and contractors. The Housner Fellows have also identified the Ghana Earthquake Society (GhES) as a key advocate and plan to continue collaborating with them in the future.

The Housner Fellows’ focus on Ghana school safety follows a commitment by the Ministry of Education to build more than a hundred new schools over the next several years. “This represents an ideal opportunity for Ghana to take an enormous step in school seismic safety and community resilience by introducing cost-effective enhancements to the design and construction of new school buildings. Because schools house children and also serve as community centers, they are essential elements in protecting the nation’s youth and building community resilience,” said EERI Executive Director Jay Berger. Greater Accra is in a zone of moderate seismic hazard, with potential for rare but damaging earthquakes.

The Housner Fellow Program, named after EERI founder George Housner and funded in part by the Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction of the World Bank and the US Federal Emergency Management Agency, equips a select group of promising and motivated professionals worldwide to lead and advocate for efforts to reduce earthquake risk. EERI Housner Fellows benefit from training, mentorship, networking, and from execution of an individual project and a group project.

2012 Housner Fellows include:

  • Dr. Syed Mohammad Ali, Ph.D.; University of Engineering and Technology; Peshawar, Pakistan
  • Cale Ash, PE, SE; Degenkolb Engineers; Seattle, Washington, USA
  • Ing. Carlien D. Bou-Chedid, FGhIE; Consulting Structural Engineer; Accra, Ghana
  • Danielle Hutchings Mieler, PE; GNS Science; Lower Hutt, New Zealand
  • Lindsey Maclise, PE, SE; Forell/Elsesser Engineers; San Francisco, California, USA
  • Hassan Mdala; Geological Survey of Malawi; Zomba, Malawi
  • Vivek Rawal; People-in-Centre Consulting; Ahmedabad, India
  • Kate Stillwell, PE, SE, MBA; GEM Foundation; Oakland, California, USA

Download this press release (PDF).

The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) is a US-based, nonprofit, technical society of engineers, geoscientists, architects, planners, public officials, and social scientists. Approximately one-third of EERI members are international. The objective of EERI is to reduce earthquake risk by advancing the science and practice of earthquake engineering; improving understanding of the impact of earthquakes on the physical, social, economic, political, and cultural environment; and advocating comprehensive and realistic measures for reducing the harmful effects of earthquakes. EERI is a leader in earthquake investigations and in the dissemination of earthquake risk reduction information both in the US and globally in cooperation with its international partners.

New Reconnaissance Report for Iran, Makran Earthquakes Available!

Please click the image to access the full printable PDF report.


Iran Report cover


10th National Conference on Earthquake Engineering one year away!


The Tenth U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering will provide an opportunity for researchers and practitioners to share the latest knowledge and techniques to mitigate the damaging effects of earthquakes and tsunamis. This conference, themed “Frontiers of Earthquake Engineering,” is being planned by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) in collaboration with the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES). This conference brings together professionals from a broad range of disciplines, including architecture, structural engineering, seismology, geology, geophysics, geotechnical engineering, business, public policy, social sciences, regional planning, emergency response planning, and regulation. More information and details about the conference and its sponsors can be found at

August Newsletter Available

You may download the EERI newsletter, August 2013 issue (PDF).

cover image of EERI August 2013 newsletter