Leadership Communique: A Message from the Executive Director

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71st EERI Annual Meeting: March 5-8, 2019

“National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act of 2018” is signed into law by the President

2018 NEHRP Reauthorization.EERI-press-release

EERI Press Release: December 12, 2018
Media Contact: Chris Poland | +1 415 740 7892 | cpoland@cdpce.com   

For Immediate Release                        

National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act of 2018 signed into law by President Trump

The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act of 2018, the first reauthorization of NEHRP in 9 years, sends a clear political message that earthquake risk reduction remains  an important priority for our nation.

Oakland, CA: December 12, 2018 — The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act of 2018 was signed into law by President Trump on Tuesday, December 11, 2018. The law represents a revitalization of the Nation’s premier 45 year old earthquake hazard  reduction program and provides a clear political message that earthquake risk reduction remains a priority for the nation. The bill ( S.1768 and HR 6650), which passed unanimously through the Senate and house this fall ,  was co-sponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

“NEHRP Reauthorization is a big step forward for our nation’s seismic resilience. The goalpost has moved from merely surviving a major earthquake, to maintaining quality of life, preventing damage to structures and  infrastructure, and reducing economic hardship. The law includes many new features that are important for the expansion of the NEHRP program to meet our 21st  century needs,” said Heidi Tremayne, Executive Director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute.

The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program provides funding to USGS, NIST, NSF and FEMA to define the size and damage potential of earthquakes, develop technologically and economically feasible design and construction methods, and develop implementation programs, related publications, and mitigation techniques. This   five-year  reauthorization makes significant program reforms and enhancements , modernizes the language related to earthquake prediction and early warning systems,  better defines  coordination among federal and state legislation, commissions a comprehensive study of the program’s effectiveness and funding levels.  

The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) has long advocated for NEHRP and all reauthorizations and again assisted in the bill’s development. Collaborating with partners in the engineering and natural hazards communities,  as well as incorporating recommendations developed  by the Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction (ACEHR), specific enhancements put forth by EERI include:

  • The findings now record that the nation is not prepared to remain operational or recover under any specific schedule and that the National Research Council reported that annual funding of approximately $300,000,000 is needed for 20 years to achieve the program’s research, preparedness, and mitigation goals.
  • The Purpose was expanded to include increasing the resilience of communities and to point out the need to develop new planning codes along with model building codes.
  • A definition for “Community Resilience” was added. “Lifelines” are now more accurately referred to as “lifeline infrastructure.”
  • A full review of the program, the activities of the program agencies, and the effectiveness of its application to both public and private earthquake risk and hazard reduction activities by the Comptroller General is now required to be submitted to the Congress within 3 years. This report should point out the need for the program’s further  expansion and additional  funding.
  • FEMA and NIST are directed  to convene a committee of experts to recommend options for improving the built environment and critical infrastructure needed to support community  recovery and resilience. This is expected to lead to the development of a new generation of functional recovery codes and standards for all components of the built environment.

For more information and to updates, please visit the EERI Legislative Action Center.


The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) is a national, nonprofit, technical society of engineers, geoscientists, architects, planners, public officials, and social scientists. EERI members include researchers, practicing professionals, educators, government officials, and building code regulators. 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. www.eeri.org


EERI Virtual Clearinghouse: M7.0 November 30, 2018 Anchorage, Alaska Earthquake

EERI Response to M7.0 November 30, 2018 Anchorage, Alaska Earthquake

On Friday, November 30, 2018, a M7.0 earthquake struck near Anchorage, Alaska.  The EERI community extends its thoughts and sympathies to those affected by the earthquake as emergency response continues. 

EERI is currently monitoring the situation from media reports and notes from colleagues in the impacted region as part of its Learning from Earthquakes Program and is considering an EERI response.  EERI has created a virtual clearinghouse website where information will be shared and updated on an ongoing basis. Please check back  for more information about EERI’s plans on the Virtual Earthquake clearinghouse: M7.0 November 30, 2018 Anchorage, Alaska Virtual Clearinghouse

We welcome help in gathering and sharing links to media reports, information from earthquake professionals with field reports, or relevant technical literature.

How to Contribute
EERI members and other earthquake risk reduction professionals can contribute to reconnaissance efforts for this earthquake in the following ways:

1. Volunteer with the Virtual Earthquake Reconnaissance Team

Research specific topics to gain an understanding of the extent of damage in the region. VERT reports will be used to help inform the LFE Executive Committee’s response to this earthquake.

Click here to Join VERT

2. Contribute Photos and Notes

There are several ways that you can contribute to our data collection effort.  (A) Contribute post-earthquake field observations and photos or (B) contribute relevant pre-event images of the impacted area to provide baseline data for locations that field teams should visit to observe impacts. Once reconnaissance teams and others begin to share their photos and observations, they will also be shown on the virtual clearinghouse  Data Map and Photo Gallery pages.  All submissions will help inform both reconnaissance and recovery efforts.  

For login information and help, please email Ana Orozco at ana@eeri.org.

3. Use the Fulcrum App

In addition to our Photo Upload Tool, EERI is using the Fulcrum App for gathering information in the field.

  • If you already have a Fulcrum account through your organization and would prefer to use EERI’s Fulcrum data collection form (app), please contact Maggie Ortiz-Millan (maggie@eeri.org) to be added to an existing effort as a member.
  • If you have a Fulcrum data collection form (app) you would like to invite others to use, please contactMaggie Ortiz-Millan (maggie@eeri.org) at EERI to share your form (app) with our organization.
  • If you have data you would like to share with EERI through your own Fulcrum App, EERI may visualize your data on our Data Map on a case-by-case basis. Please contact Maggie Ortiz-Millan (maggie@eeri.org) to request this.

Fulcrum can be downloaded easily for both Android and iOS devices.

4. Inform EERI of your reconnaissance plans

If you will be participating as a part of a reconnaissance mission, recovery mission, or traveling to the impacted area for any other purpose, please contact Maggie Ortiz-Millan (maggie@eeri.org) to inform her of your timeline and travel details.  EERI can help link you to others in the field, support you in efforts to share photos or observations, and connect you with  the EERI team (if one is mobilized).

Other Ways to Contribute

Earthquake investigators are encouraged to contact EERI Clearinghouse staff at eqclearinghouse@eeri.org if they have suggestions about how they can contribute to this clearinghouse effort.

Robert W. Graves Selected as 2019 Joyner Lecturer

Remembering Anestis “Andy” Veletsos (1927-2018)

Andy Veletsos Memorial
Houston, Texas
November 1, 2018

by Anil K. Chopra

I first met Andy Veletsos in 1969 at the 4th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering in Santiago, Chile. Andy was already a big name in earthquake engineering, and I was an unknown young academics at the University of California at Berkeley. Yet he treated me graciously, a quality of his that all of you know.

Thereafter, our paths crossed once a year at conferences. There I would listen to Andy present a paper and marvel at the creativity underlying this research and his ability to communicate it effectively. I read every new paper he published because without fail it would be enlightening intellectually and a stellar example of what a journal paper should be. In admiration, I decided to invite him to spend a semester at Berkeley and present a special course. I sat in his class with graduate students and watched in awe a master teacher at the top of his craft. This was in the late 1970s.

That is when Hamida, who is here with me, and I met Katherine and the young Ann Marie and Melinda, who became friends with our daughter, Nasreen, who was similar in age. Every time Andy and Katherine visited San Francisco, we would spend an evening together. Katherine became fond of San Francisco’s famous sour dough bread. We still remember her carrying a big bag full of bread as she boarded the plane back to Houston. Katherine, we are sorry that our flight was too early this morning to get fresh bread for you.

For those of you who do not know Andy’s professional work, let me say a few words. Andy’s research had a profound influence on the development of structural dynamics and earthquake engineering. His work formed the foundation of this subject. It is now a part of building codes; engineers use it every day without knowing its origins. It is taught in graduate courses all over the world. New researchers start by reading his papers to embark on their careers.

Because Andy was an outstanding teacher and his writing exemplary, I suggested to him that he should write a textbook. After several years of reminding him, I realized that it was not high enough on Andy’s list of priorities. So during one of his visits to San Francisco, I said to him that if he wasn’t going to write one, then perhaps I would.

Now in its 5th edition, my textbook first appeared in 1995. Let me paraphrase a couple of sentences from the Preface to the first edition:

I wish to express my deep appreciation to Andy Veletsos for his influence on my professional growth. Through his research, writing, and lectures, he influenced my teaching and research philosophy. His work defined the approach adopted for Chapters 6, 7, and 14.

Andy Veletsos’ death marks the passing of a giant in earthquake engineering. But he will live on through his writings and many Ph.D. students from all over the world.


See also: Anestis S. Veletsos, 1927-2018 (submitted by Christos Giarlelis, George E. Mylonakis, and Panos Dakoulas)

EERI 2019 Annual Meeting in Vancouver, CA – Registration is Open!

Learning From Earthquakes 2019 Travel Study Program to New Zealand: Apply by Nov 19

LFE Travel Study banner

Applications are now open for the 2019 Travel Study Program to be held in New Zealand from May 5-12, 2019 (NZ time):


Applications are due November 19, 2018. 

EERI is teaming up with QuakeCoRE, the New Zealand Centre for Earthquake Resilience, to offer an opportunity to be part of the upcoming Learning from Earthquakes Travel Study Program in New Zealand. This program offers a unique opportunity to learn directly from local experts in the field and contribute to knowledge of recovery from recent earthquakes in New Zealand.

The program is targeted at postgraduate students and young professionals; both early career researchers and early career practitioners. The organizers are seeking applications from participants across a diverse spectrum including social sciences, earth sciences, and engineering. Preference will be given to EERI members and QuakeCoRE affiliates.

“I participated in the inaugural LFE TSP in 2017 in Chile.  I found it to be very worthwhile in many aspects.  Our field trips were well planned with great opportunities to interact with locals and learn from their experiences during and after the earthquake.  The focus was interdisciplinary and practical.  I learned a lot about the state of practice in Chile, including state-of-the-art engineering and some great, cost-effective seismic solutions for low-income housing.  And perhaps most importantly I enjoyed meeting young colleagues from around the world, both professionals and academics, and working with them to report our findings back to the earthquake engineering community.” – Laura Whitehurst, 2017 Chile participant

Program participants are responsible for all travel expenses to and from New Zealand. The following registration fee will cover lodging, local transport, and the majority of food during the trip:

Registration Fee: Students   $500 (USD)
Registration Fee: Young Professionals  $1,750 (USD)

More Information
Information about the program goals and the outcomes of the 2017 LFE Travel Study Program in Chile can be found by clicking here.

Questions about the program and application process may be directed to Zoe Yin at zoe@eeri.org