New Program for School Earthquake Safety

Join us to protect the lives of all who inhabit school buildings. EERI’s new School Earthquake Safety Initiative (SESI) will leverage the Institute’s extensive expertise and reputation by conducting regionally appropriate actions to increase the seismic safety of school buildings.

EERI members are encouraged to actively participate in one of SESI’s subcommittees listed below.

• Safety Screening, Inventory, and Evaluation – Chairs: Ken Goettel and Barry Welliver
• Classroom Education and Outreach – Chairs: Lelli Van Den Einde and Thalia Anagnos
• Tsunami Mitigation for Schools – Chair pending, Heidi Tremayne is current contact
• Code Updating and Improvements – Chair: Rob Jackson
• Safety Advocacy and Messaging – Chair: Lucy Arendt

Utilizing member expertise through these subcommittees, the School Earthquake Safety Initiative can make a tangible, positive difference in communities around the world by advocating for school safety.

For example, the Classroom Education and Outreach Subcommittee plans to use education in the classroom to establish ongoing dialog with parents, teachers, and administrators, creating advocates for school earthquake safety. After developing a pilot education program with well-documented and easy-to-implement lesson plans, the subcommittee will recruit EERI regional and student chapters to deliver the activities and serve as expert resources for stakeholders.

The Safety Screening, Inventory, and Evaluation Subcommittee will facilitate and encourage implementation of risk reduction measures, developing stepwise screening methodologies that can identify school buildings with the highest seismic risk while minimizing the effort and expense for school districts. This summer, the group will document inventory and screening success stories in Oregon, Washington, Utah, Alaska, and Missouri, and review screening tools. The subcommittee will then develop a school screening activity in the fall, intended to be ready for use by EERI members in selected pilot regions in 2016.

To learn more about SESI activities and find contact details for the subcommittee chairs listed above, visit the SESI website:

Solving the Long Spectra Publication Wait: An Editorial

by Jonathan P. Stewart
Editor, Earthquake Spectra

stewartjonAs I wrote in my August 2013 Editorial, the state of Earthquake Spectra is strong in many respects, especially in regard to the quality of papers submitted and published in the journal, and the excellence of our dedicated Editorial Board Members who manage the manuscript reviews. However, we now face a significant challenge that I want to communicate to the EERI membership and to Earthquake Spectra’s readership, along with what is being done to address the issue.

The problem is publication queue time, which is defined as the time between when a manuscript is accepted and when it appears in the printed journal. Some of the papers that were published in the May 2015 issue were originally accepted as early as September 2013, meaning that queue times for papers in this issue are as long as 20 months (approximately 6 to 7 issue cycles). Similarly long waits have become standard for manuscripts in recent ordinary issues (special issues typically have shorter queue times). These long waits damage the journal—and by extension, EERI—in several respects:

  1. Critical and often time-sensitive research results are delayed before archival publication for the betterment of EERI’s membership. Although this effect is somewhat mitigated by the online publication of preprints launched in 2013, many readers continue to rely principally on the paper version of the final manuscript and its accompanying online record.
  2. Earthquake Spectra competes for submissions from top authors. Our long publication queue time is no secret, and some authors may be dis-incentivized to submit their best work to our journal. Competing journals are often publishing papers within a matter of weeks to a few months following acceptance.
  3. Like other journals listed in the Web of Science, Earthquake Spectra is regularly evaluated for the impact of its articles. This is quantified with an Impact Factor that is computed as the average number of citations received annually for articles in the journal during the two-year time period following publication. Because we are taking almost two years to publish papers following acceptance, it is unusual for citations of Earthquake Spectra articles by subsequently published Earthquake Spectra articles to count toward our Impact Factor. This artificially suppresses Earthquake Spectra Impact Factor, and hence the appearance of impact relative to competing journals.

We can and must do better, and I have worked with EERI’s Executive Director Jay Berger and the Board of Directors to formulate a solution strategy. I am pleased that the Board of Directors has been willing to invest substantial resources to help in this regard.

The source of the long queue time is that we accepted significantly more manuscripts than we published over a four-year period, starting in 2009. Although these numbers are now in approximate equilibrium, we have a backlog. To reduce the backlog, we are publishing issues with significantly more papers (about 30) than our historical norms (about 16) during the 2015 and 2016 publication years. This will not eliminate the backlog entirely, but will reduce it such that papers are published approximately 1 to 2 issues cycles (3 to 6 months) following final acceptance.

I conclude with a message to authors considering Earthquake Spectra as a publication venue. We acknowledge the queue time problem and we apologize sincerely to those of you who have had papers wait for too long for publication in recent years. We have implemented measures to solve the problem. If you submit a quality manuscript now, you are likely to have final acceptance (assuming two rounds of review) in early 2016, online publication 1 to 2 weeks following acceptance, and in-print publication within about 3 issue cycles (9 months). By the Fall of 2016, our goal is to be publishing papers within the target range of 1 to 2 issue cycles.

With the queue time problem on its way to being solved, authors should not hesitate to submit their best work to Earthquake Spectra. By doing so, they benefit from the excellence of the Editorial Board during the review process and the exposure afforded their published work by the reputation and unparalleled breadth of readership of the journal. EERI members should continue to look to Earthquake Spectra as their go-to venue for the most innovative and impactful work in Earthquake Engineering and related fields affecting their professional practice.

EERI Reconnaissance Team Wraps Up Mission in Nepal

Damage to heritage sites in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan is less than some media reports have implied, but still significant. Nearly 750 monuments were damaged by the April 25, 2015 earthquake and its aftershocks, with approximately half collapsed. (Photo by EERI team member Suraj Shrestha.)

Damage to heritage sites in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan is less than some media reports have implied, but still significant. Nearly 750 monuments were damaged by the April 25, 2015 earthquake and its aftershocks, with approximately half collapsed. (Photo by EERI team member Suraj Shrestha.)


The EERI Reconnaissance Team concluded their nine-day mission in Nepal on June 8. After visiting outlying regions, the team finished its reconnaissance with meetings and detailed observations in Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu, and the surrounding valley.

Colleagues at the Nepal Department of Education provided a special tour of several retrofitted schools, where team members learned about the retrofit program and met with both administrators and masons responsible for the projects. The program’s success was evident both in the observed performance of the retrofitted buildings, and the stakeholders’ positive attitudes towards seismically resistant construction practices.

The Department of Education has report that approximately 250 schools were retrofitted prior to the earthquake and generally performed well during the April-May earthquakes. The team visited three retrofitted schools including one in Nandikeshwor and two in Sanhku. (Photo by EERI team leader Bret Lizundia.)

The Department of Education has report that approximately 250 schools were retrofitted prior to the earthquake and generally performed well during the April-May earthquakes. The team visited three retrofitted schools including one in Nandikeshwor and two in Sanhku. (Photo by EERI team leader Bret Lizundia.)


Team members visited numerous lifeline agencies and providers, reporting new insights on resilience. Members who visited hospitals during the trip have similarly noted many lessons and best practices transferable to other countries around the world. Architectural heritage structures yielded interesting observations expanding and enhancing what had been reported in international media coverage.

As a final team activity before the team’s departure, the National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET) arranged a meeting with more than 60 representatives from Nepalese government departments and agencies. The team shared preliminary observations, insights, and discussed strategies to aid recovery and rebuilding.

On return to their homes, team members, with support from their Virtual Team Collaborators, will process photographs and data for uploading to EERI’s data map.

A briefing on the reconnaissance trip and its findings will likely be presented in mid July. Members will be notified of the time and date of any webcast scheduled for the briefing.

A published report on the EERI trip, findings, and recommendations will be released in the fall.

EERI Reconnaissance Team Begins Work in Nepal

Dr Thomas Kirsch and Surya Narayan Shrestha at Bir Hospital, a large complex with six medical buildings, staffing quarters, and other support structures in Kathmandu (Photo by Judy Mitrani-Reiser)


EERI’s initial reconnaissance mission to study the effects of the April 25, 2015 Gorkha earthquake is underway.

The team’s first day was spent in coordination and strategy sessions with various colleagues in Kathmandu. The National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET) arranged a meeting with representatives from Nepalese agencies responsible for response and recovery from many sectors, including schools, cultural heritage sites, and lifelines. The team also held a coordination meeting with members from the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Team B1, who made time to collaborate, share their insights, and provide travel recommendations. This information proved extremely valuable to the team, and is greatly appreciated by EERI.

The EERI team split into four subgroups June 1–4, to observe earthquake impacts in Sindhupalchok, Gorkha and Dolakha Districts.

A hospital observation team is traveling in impacted communities and hospital facilities in the Gorkha District, June 2–3, and to the Sindhupalchok District on June 4. Team members include Judy Mitrani-Reiser, Hari Kumar, and Surya Narayan Shrestha, along with colleague Dr. Thomas Kirsch of Johns Hopkins University Departments of International Health and Emergency Medicine.

Team members Bret Lizundia, Courtney Welton-Mitchell, Jan Kupec, Suraj Shrestha, and Hemant Kaushik, along with colleague and social worker Rubina Awale, are traveling in Sindhupalchok. The team has visited the communities of Banepa and Dhulikhel on the way to Chautara, where it will conduct a detailed study of impacts before returning to Kathmandu on June 3.

Team members John Bevington, Ganesh Kumar Jimee, and Kishor Jaiswal, along with GEER colleague Chris Madden Madugo, are studying community impacts and landslides in the Dolakha District. Jan Kupec will join this team on June 3. The group plans to visit Charikot in Bhimeshwor Municipality and travel towards Singati on June 4 before returning to Kathmandu the next day.

Team members Chris Poland and Rachel Davidson, with a colleague from NSET, spent June 1–2 in the Kathmandu Valley holding meetings with Build Change and other nonprofit groups conducting recovery efforts. The team plans to travel to Chautara Municipality on June 3 to observe resilience issues, especially surrounding lifeline performance, and return to Kathmandu later that evening.

Despite limited bandwidth, team members have managed to submit several geolocated images now posted to the data map and photo gallery on the Nepal virtual clearinghouse site:

View data map on Nepal Earthquake virtual clearinghouse

View the photo gallery on the Nepal Earthquake virtual clearinghouse

Nepal Earthquake virtual clearinghouse data map, with geotagged reconnaissance information.

Nepal Earthquake virtual clearinghouse data map, with geotagged reconnaissance information.

Upon the team‘s return from the field, with support from their virtual team collaborators, full image collections will be posted on the clearinghouse website.

EERI’s initial reconnaissance mission will conclude with activities in Kathmandu and the surrounding valley from June 4–8, 2015.

Questions about the Learning from Earthquakes program and EERI reconnaissance activities may be directed to Heidi Tremayne:


EERI Reconnaissance Team to Nepal

As part of its Learning from Earthquakes program, EERI will send a multidisciplinary reconnaissance team to Nepal from May 31–June 7, 2015. The team will study the impacts of the April 25, 2015 earthquake and its aftershocks.

We thank EERI members for the large response of offers to assist and support our mission to the region. In the tradition of EERI reconnaissance efforts, the team assembled for the Nepal reconnaissance trip is represented by experienced professionals from earthquake engineering and disaster-response disciplines.

The reconnaissance mission will be focused on nine main themes, more fully described with strategic objectives on the Research Topics page:

  1. Evaluate effectiveness of past mitigation and preparedness efforts, especially in hospitals and schools, in a region with well-known, very high seismic risk
  2. Investigate lessons from emergency response and building management practices
  3. Investigate impacts on lifelines and communications systems, including expected and actual restoration times
  4. Investigate recovery and resilience related issues
  5. Improve understanding of damage to regional building types
  6. Evaluate impacts on World Heritage sites
  7. Investigate landslide and avalanche impacts on communities
  8. Investigate casualty causes (epidemiology)
  9. Summarize key ground motion features and their significance

After its return from the field, the team will disseminate findings by producing an EERI Earthquake Reconnaissance Summary Report and a web-broadcasted reconnaissance briefing for the membership. EERI expects that several follow-up EERI reconnaissance missions will return to Nepal over the course of the year, including the Housner Fellows, whose team project is related to the Nepal building code, and the EERI Resilience Observatory project, to conduct resilience reconnaissance to better understand recovery in Nepal.

Details about the team members and their roles on the reconnaissance team:

Team Leaders

Bret Lizundia (M. EERI, 1992) is a structural engineer and principal at Rutherford + Chekene in San Francisco. He has over 26 years of experience in structural design of new buildings, seismic evaluation and rehabilitation of existing buildings, peer review and plan checking, and applied research and guideline development. Lizundia was part of reconnaissance teams for the 1989 Loma Prieta, 1994 Northridge, 2001 Nisqually, Washington, 2010 Eureka, California, 2010 Chile, 2011 New Zealand, and the 2014 South Napa, California earthquakes. Lizundia is also the coauthor of the recently completed ATC-20-1 Bhutan Field Manual, which adapted the ATC-20-1 Field Manual: Postearthquake Safety Evaluation of Buildings for the building types in Bhutan.
Role: team leadership, developing team strategy, structures, effectiveness of retrofits, building damage assessment practices
Themes: 1 (Retrofits), 2 (Tagging), 5 (Damage categorization), 6 (Heritage), 7 (Landslide)
Liaison: Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER)

Surya Narayan Shrestha (M. EERI, 2014) is the Deputy Executive Director and Senior Structural Engineer at the National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET) in Nepal. He serves as the program manager for the Nepal Earthquake Risk Management Program, focused on the safety of school buildings, building code implementation, and disaster preparedness planning and capacity. Mr. Shrestha has experience in earthquake response in Nepal, Indonesia, and Pakistan.
Role: in-country knowledge, coordination with NSET, team leadership, disaster mitigation and planning, risk management, damage assessment
Themes: 1 (Retrofits), 2 (Tagging, Emergency response), 4 (Recovery/resilience), 5 (Damage categorization)
Liaison: National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET), Nepalese government agencies, EERI Housner Fellows

Team Members

John Bevington (M. EERI, 2011) is a geospatial technologist at ImageCat, specializing in the development of geospatial products for understanding risk for the insurance and disaster risk reduction sectors. Bevington has provided expertise to national governments for post-earthquake, tsunami, and hurricane damage assessment through the International Charter for Space and Major Disasters. He has directed field reconnaissance teams to capture in-situ situational assessments of post-disaster response and recovery efforts following disaster events in Europe, Asia, North America, and the Caribbean, and he has used remote sensing observations to assess post-disaster damage following natural disasters on five continents.
Role: field data collection and management, building code compliance and enforcement, vulnerability to children, impacts of mapping and geospatial studies on response and recovery
Themes: 2 (Tagging), 5 (Damage categorization), 7 (Landslide), 8 (Epidemiology), 9 (Ground motion)
Liaison: Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation Team (EEFIT), Global Earthquake Model (GEM), EERI Housner Fellows

Rachel Davidson (M. EERI, 1995) is a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a core faculty member in the Disaster Research Center (DRC) at the University of Delaware. She has served on the executive committee of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Technical Council on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering (TCLEE), and performed fieldwork in Northridge, Haiti, and New Zealand focused on lifeline or regional scale risk analysis for earthquakes and hurricanes.
Role: damage to transportation networks, airport, power, water, and other lifeline systems and impacts on community function, lifeline interdependencies, lifeline work-arounds
Themes: 3 (Lifelines), 4 (Recovery/resilience)
Liaison: American Society of Civil Engineers Infrastructure Resilience Division (ASCE IRD), Delaware Disaster Research Center (DRC)

Kishor Jaiswal (M. EERI, 2007) is a licensed professional engineer and a lead loss model developer of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response (PAGER) program in Golden, Colorado. His primary responsibilities include development of global earthquake casualty and economic loss estimation models; development of building inventory, exposure, and vulnerability databases; and developing frameworks to rapidly quantify earthquake impact as part of the National Earthquake Information Center’s operational response.
Role: damage categorization for regional building types, data collection to improve PAGER damage, loss and casualty predictions
Themes: 5 (Damage categorization), 8 (Epidemiology), 9 (Ground motion)
Liaison: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), EERI Housner Fellows

Ganesh Kumar Jimee is the director of the Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response Division of the National Society for Earthquake Technology- Nepal (NSET). He has contributed to disaster response plans for Nepalese districts, municipalities, and other non-governmental organizations. He has facilitated national and local training courses on disaster management, specifically on emergency medical response, incident command systems, and design and planning of emergency drills for different organizations. He has also contributed to earthquake risk assessment of Nepalese cities and Mansehra, Muzaffarabad, and Quatta City in Pakistan as a GIS expert. He has developed multi-hazard assessments and preparations of maps for the Risk Sensitive Land Use Plan of Kathmandu Metropolitan City and the Community Vulnerability Assessment Mapping of Humla District as a GIS expert. Mr. Jimee led the NSET team with Nepal Police for search and rescue operations after the April 25 earthquake.
Role: disaster management, emergency response procedures, emergency preparedness, emergency medical response, in-country knowledge
Themes: 2 (Emergency response/planning)

Hemant Kaushik (M. EERI, 2009) is an associate professor in civil engineering at Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati. He has done reconnaissance work after the Sumatra earthquake and tsunami of 2004, and has research interests in earthquake damage surveys, earthquake resistant design, nonlinear behavior, and retrofit of structures.
Role: categorization and compilation of damage to structures, impacts on Northern India and other surrounding countries
Themes: 1 (Retrofits), 5 (Damage categorization), 6 (Heritage)
Liaison: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Recon Teams, Indian Earth Science Team

Hari Kumar (M. EERI, 2011) is a civil engineer working in disaster and risk reduction based in New Delhi as the Southeast Asia regional coordinator for GeoHazards International (GHI), with a focus on hospitals and schools, including nonstructural assessments in India and Nepal.
Role: school and hospital mitigation/retrofitting effectiveness, nonstructural impacts, government relations and recovery policies
Themes: 1 (Hospital preparedness, retrofit effectiveness), 4 (Resilience/recovery), 8 (Epidemiology)
Liaison: GeoHazards International (GHI)

Jan Kupec is a geotechnical engineer and technical director in ground engineering at Aurecon Group in New Zealand. He has extensive professional experience on environmental engineering, slope and land stability problems, and regional seismicity and active faulting, and specializes in forensic geotechnical engineering and applications of geosynthetics. Kupec acted as the Chief Geotechnical Engineer at the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority on key issues related to deconstruction and geotechnical work after the Christchurch sequence of earthquakes in 2010–2011.
Role: impacts of landslides and potential landslides on community function, geotechnical impacts on buildings, hazard assessment, demolition and rebuilding strategies
Themes: 7 (Geotechnical engineering/landslides), 9 (Seismology)
Liaison: New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering (NZSEE), Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER)

Judy Mitrani-Reiser (M. EERI, 2001) is an assistant professor in civil engineering at Johns Hopkins University with a secondary appointment in emergency medicine. She has been on reconnaissance trips to Chile, New Zealand, and Mexico studying resilience and functional impacts of healthcare facilities and healthcare systems. Her research focuses on performance assessment of critical infrastructure, the safety and economic impact of hazards on the built environment, the effective communication of these risks to the public, informed decision making for use in emergency management and policy making, and the interaction of humans with the built environment.
Role: hospital mitigation/retrofitting effectiveness, recovery
Themes: 1 (Hospital preparedness, retrofit effectiveness), 4 (Resilience/recovery), 8 (Epidemiology)

Chris Poland (M. EERI, 1978) is a structural engineer with over forty years of design work, seismic analysis and strengthening of existing buildings, structural failure analysis, and historic preservation. Formerly the Chairman and CEO of Degenkolb Engineers, Poland now has a structural and earthquake engineering consulting practice specializing in seismic design and mitigation related to individual projects and the development and implementation of programs and policies related to creating resilient communities. He has been a key contributor in the development of SPUR’s Resilient City initiative for San Francisco, and the NIST National Disaster Resilience Framework (currently under development).
Role: recovery of critical facilities, emergency housing, neighborhoods, and the supporting infrastructure systems in the context of services related to families, the economy, government, health, education, community service organizations, etc. Identify recovery efforts related to services that should be tracked long-term for the EERI Resilience Observatory.
Themes: 3 (Lifelines), 4 (Recovery/resilience)
Liaison: EERI Resilience Observatory Project, American Society of Civil Engineers Infrastructure Resilience Division (ASCE IRD)

Suraj Shrestha is the Senior Engineer at Dharan Sub Metropolitan City in Eastern Nepal. In this role, he provides technical support and management for development activities, including those with partner and community-based organizations and projects, linking with national goals and strategic plans of the National Planning Commission, Ministry of Local Development and Urban Development Committee. He also conducts disaster risk management trainings for the community, technicians, and contractors/masons in his jurisdiction. He has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in Urban Planning from Tribhuvan University in Nepal.
Role: experience with cultural heritage sites, urban planning, in-country knowledge
Themes: 6 (Heritage), 1 (Retrofits), 5 (Damage categorization)

Courtney Welton-Mitchell (M. EERI, 2015) is a social psychologist, co-founder and director of Humanitarian Assistance Applied Research Group at the University of Denver, and a research associate at the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her research focus is on global mental health, disaster mitigation, refugee livelihoods, and other sectors, including mental health integrated disaster preparedness for internally displaced in Haiti and Nepal.
Role: social psychology, mental health and psychosocial network response, humanitarian assistance, historical disaster preparedness efforts
Themes: 2 (Aid, mental health), 4 (Recovery/resilience)
Liaison: Delaware Disaster Research Center (DRC)

EERI Oral History on William J. Hall

William J. Hall

William J. Hall

This month EERI members (Regular, Young Professional, Retired, Honorary, and Affiliate) are receiving the latest issue of Connections: The EERI Oral History Series, with William J. Hall (M. EERI, 1973) as the subject of Volume 23. Interviewers are Robert D. Hanson (M. EERI, 1968) and Robert Reitherman (M. EERI, 1979), with Doug Nyman (M. EERI, 1975) providing a personal introduction to the volume. A special appendix on Nathan M. Newmark, Hall’s mentor and close colleague is included.

Hall has conducted research and consulting projects on earthquake ground motions and structural response, steel design and fracture mechanics, the seismic design of nuclear power plants and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, and blast-resistant design. He was one of the youngest individuals to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

After serving in the Merchant Marine in World War II, Hall completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Kansas and went on to get his PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where his advisor was Nathan M. Newmark. An extensive appendix in this volume offers biographical information on the late Professor Newmark, who developed many widely used methods for analyzing structural components under a variety of loading conditions, and for calculating the stresses in the soil beneath foundations.

hall_web_revThe William J. Hall Oral History is also available online as a PDF download from the EERI Knowledge Center and Online Store. This volume of The EERI Oral History Series was produced with financial support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Initiated by Stanley Scott, Connections: The EERI Oral History Series, serves to preserve the recollections of those who have had pioneering careers in the field of earthquake engineering. To see the full list of volumes in The EERI Oral History Series, visit

Lizundia and Shrestha Named to Lead EERI Reconnaissance Team in Nepal


The Executive Committee of EERI’s Learning from Earthquakes (LFE) program has selected Bret Lizundia and Surya Narayan Shrestha as co-leaders of EERI’s reconnaissance activities for the Nepal-Gorkha Earthquake of April 25, 2015.

Lizundia and Shrestha will direct a multidisciplinary team of earth scientists, engineers, and social scientists to observe and investigate damaging effects from the earthquake and assess the need for follow-up areas of research. The team will travel to the affected region in late May through early June.

"Shrestha and Lizundia have an ideal blend of reconnaissance experience and regional knowledge to lead this effort,” said Ken Elwood, chair of the Learning from Earthquakes Executive Committee. “We have been amazed by the number of EERI members with experience in the impacted region and greatly appreciate the overwhelming interest by our membership to participate as team members or as curators on our virtual clearinghouse website. We are working with these two leaders to finalize the members for the team.”


Surya Narayan Shrestha (M. EERI, 2014) is the Deputy Executive Director and Senior Structural Engineer at the National Society for Earthquake Technology, Nepal. He acted as the program manager for the Nepal Earthquake Risk Management Program focused on the safety of school buildings, building code implementation, and disaster preparedness planning and capacity. Shrestha was selected as an EERI Housner Fellow in 2014.


Bret Lizundia (M. EERI, 1992) is a structural engineer and principal at Rutherford + Chekene in San Francisco. He has over 26 years of experience in structural design of new buildings, seismic evaluation and rehabilitation of existing buildings, peer review and plan checking, and applied research and guideline development. Lizundia was part of reconnaissance teams for the 1989 Loma Prieta, 1994 Northridge, 2001 Nisqually Washington, 2010 Eureka, California, 2010 Chile, 2011 New Zealand, and the 2014 South Napa, California earthquakes. He is a past president of the Applied Technology Council and the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California, and a past recipient of the EERI Shah Family Innovation Prize.

Learn more about EERI’s Learning from Earthquakes program:

Read more about the April 25, 2015, Nepal-Gorkha earthquake, including curated topics of interest, at EERI’s virtual clearinghouse website:

Questions about the Learning from Earthquakes program and EERI reconnaissance activities may be directed to EERI Program Manager Heidi Tremayne:

EERI response to M7.8 Nepal Earthquake

On April 25, 2015, an M7.8 earthquake struck Nepal 48 miles northwest of Kathmandu, killing a reported 4,000 people across Nepal, India, Bangladesh, and Tibet. Avalanches and powerful aftershocks have followed. The EERI community extends its sympathy to the victims as rescue and relief work continues.

EERI is currently monitoring the situation from media reports and notes from colleagues in Nepal and surrounding areas as part of its Learning from Earthquakes Program

EERI has set up a virtual clearinghouse website for EERI members to find information and share knowledge about the earthquake impacts at

We are in a preliminary data collection phase. We welcome help in gathering and sharing links on the clearinghouse website to media reports, information from earthquake professionals with field reports, or relevant technical literature about Nepal earthquake risk. Email the virtual clearinghouse at

The LFE Executive Committee is developing a three-phase reconnaissance recommendation plan:

  • Initial field reconnaissance with EERI members and colleagues from India and Nepal
  • Creation of an LFE multi-disciplinary team composed of regional experts and International participants sent to region in two to five weeks
  • Follow-up team sent in four months to a year for study using the evaluation framework developed by EERI Resilience Observatory for documenting and measuring resilience

Any questions regarding EERI’s response to this earthquake can be directed to:

Apply for 2015-2016 EERI/FEMA Graduate Fellowship in Earthquake Hazard Reduction

EERI is pleased to announce the availability of a Graduate Fellowship for the 2015-2016 academic year to support one full-time student in a discipline contributing to the science and practice of earthquake hazard mitigation.

FEMA (logo)The one-year fellowship, underwritten with funds provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency external link icon, is designed to foster the participation of capable individuals in working toward goals and activities of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program.

The EERI/FEMA NEHRP fellowship provides a nine-month stipend of $12,000 with an additional $8,000 for tuition, fees, and research expenses.

Applicants must be enrolled in a graduate degree program at an accredited U.S. college or university and must hold U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status. All applications must include an academic transcript and a statement of educational and career goals.

All application materials must be submitted electronically to EERI, including a letter of nomination from a faculty sponsor at the student’s institution and two additional reference letters. Letters should evaluate the applicant’s recent academic performance, document the applicant’s research accomplishments, and assess the candidate’s potential to contribute to the field.

Candidates may apply online at Deadline for submission of all application materials is May 29, 2015. Announcement of the award will be made on July 1, 2015.

Opportunity | EERI/FEMA Graduate Fellowship