Session 10.3 - Post Earthquake Response & Recovery

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Developing an Urban Search and Rescue Capability for New Zealand: Two Years of Achievement

L.B. Angus, R.J. Dance and D.R. Brunsdon

New Zealand Reconnaissance Teams following the 1999 Turkey (NZSEE) and Taiwan (NZFS & NZSEE) earthquakes returned with the very strong message that New Zealand needed to develop more appropriate urban search and rescue capabilities. Previous efforts in 1995 to establish an Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) unit had not been followed up on due to a lack of high-level support.

In July 2000, the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management and the New Zealand Fire Service initiated a project to assess the level of capability to rescue people from structural collapse, and to make recommendations regarding the appropriate level of national capability. This investigation led to the assessment that New Zealand had only a limited ability to undertake structural collapse scenarios with no systematic training arrangements and response procedures being in place. Moreover, the report highlighted that there was no management structure in place to organise international rescue teams in the days following a major structural collapse or earthquake.

In the two years following this initial investigation, significant progress has been made towards establishing a sustainable national capability for undertaking structural collapse rescue. The key feature of the structures developed is the adoption of a multi-agency approach at both governance and operational levels. This approach is in contrast to the single agency large-scale task force model used in many other countries, and is the subject of considerable international interest.

This paper summarises the key elements of the New Zealand USAR structures, and outlines the achievements during the first two years of its development.

Paper 144: [Read][Print]

Keywords: USAR, multi-agency, collapse, emergency, earthquakes


Involving Engineers in Urban Search and Rescue

D.R. Brunsdon, D.M. McGuigan and D.K. Bull

Structural engineers are a key part of an Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) response. They have a critical role to play in providing technical advice for rescue teams. This includes assessing the overall stability of a partially or wholly collapsed structure, monitoring the structural stability and the development of temporary shoring arrangements.

To be fully effective in a rescue situation, engineers must be specifically trained in USAR procedures and techniques, and must have regular involvement with the rescue teams with which they are associated. As part of the process of developing a national USAR capability in New Zealand, considerable thought has been given to establishing appropriate specialist training for engineers and ongoing engagement arrangements with rescue teams.

This paper summarises the key roles that engineers play in conjunction with a USAR rescue team, and outlines the arrangements currently being established with both the national Task Force Teams and local rescue teams. Details are provided of the new Level One and Level Two USAR Engineer Training Courses that are currently being developed.

Paper 145: [Read][Print]

Keywords: USAR, engineers, collapse, training, response


Post Earthquake Recovery of New Zealand Houses

A.B. King and D. Middleton

This paper outlines the fundamental principles which have driven the development of EQCs Catastrophe Response Programme. It also details the management structure and support mechanisms which EQC have developed to assist a fair and speedy recovery of the residential sector from a damaging earthquake in New Zealand.

The paper also describes BRANZ involvement in developing the Earthquake Damage Assessment Catalogue (EDAC). This is a key component of the documentation that will be used by the damage assessment estimators and insurance loss adjusters to establish an appropriate repair strategy, with costs, for damaged houses which have EQC insurance cover.

Paper 139: [Read][Print]

Keywords: damage assessment, building repair, houses, database, catastrophe planning, insurance cover


Engineering Disaster Insurance Schemes for the 21st Century

G.R. Walker

In several countries, mostly wealthy ones, those who suffer loss directly from natural disasters are relieved of much of this burden through being insured.  In general this provides a relatively quick and efficient way of providing cash in the aftermath of a disaster to meet the costs of repair and reconstruction, thus facilitating the recovery process. Unfortunately this is not the case in many poorer countries. For them it often means turning to international agencies such as the World Bank for reconstruction loans, adding further burdens to already struggling economies. To alleviate this situation the World Bank is promting the design and implementation of regional or national disaster insurance schemes. Most current schemes were the result of political decisions based on very limited understanding of the risks involved, often in the aftermath of disasters. Today, as a result of advances in technology, schemes can be engineered using sophisticated design tools which can simulate the performance of schemes including the risks to which they are exposed and the financial risk management variables such as premium rates, cover conditions, fund investment returns and reinsurance. This paper outlines some of the basic principles for the design of disaster insurance schemes in the modern world that have emerged from this development.

Paper 032: [Read][Print]

Keywords: disasters, insurance, earthquakes, financial risk, loss risk modelling, disaster insurance schemes


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