Can an Early Warning Prevent Earthquakes Becoming Disasters?

Fifteen of our largest cities are in earthquake zones where millions of people gamble on having time to reach safety when quakes strike.

Between 1980 and 2014 more than 850,000 people were killed by earthquakes and their fallout. These disasters are estimated to have cost the global economy more than $750 billion. By studying what happens when an earthquake hits a city, we have learned valuable lessons that are enabling engineers to design safer and more resilient buildings for the future. However, existing buildings remain a dangerous problem and while earthquake damage can be minimised it cannot be prevented. We must prepare people for the worst.

Supported by AXA, Professor Iunio Iervolino is developing an early warning system for earthquakes. It will instantly and automatically alert the population of vulnerable cities seconds before the seismic waves strikes. Those precious few seconds can be enough for people to reach a safer place and to shut down hazardous machinery: an early warning can make all the difference in a situation where every second counts.

This is the one of five short films with the AXA Research Fund to inspire understanding of the hazards faced by urban areas, and the ways in which we are working to minimize their impact and make the world’s cities safer.

Other films in this series cover urban data & spatial planning, flooding, air pollution, and the role of insurance in the resilience of cities.

Learn more HERE.

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