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Ali Q.,Hyogo Earthquake Engineering Research Center | Schacher T.,Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation | Ashraf M.,Hyogo Earthquake Engineering Research Center | Alam B.,Hyogo Earthquake Engineering Research Center | And 3 more authors.
Earthquake Spectra | Year: 2012

This paper presents experimental and numerical investigations conducted on typical dhajji buildings found in the northern mountainous areas of Kashmir and surrounding regions to evaluate their in-plane lateral load response. The experimental work included an in-plane quasistatic cyclic test on three full-scale walls as well as monotonic tension and bend tests on main connections. The test results show that the dhajji-dewari system of buildings possesses tremendous resilience against lateral forces. The function of connections, especially the connections between the vertical posts and bottom plate, control the performance of the system. The test results also indicate that although masonry infill does not contribute to lateral load capacity, it significantly increases the energy dissipation capacity of system. The data accrued from the tests has been used in nonlinear static pushover analysis of the numerical models to develop simplified analytical tools for facilitating lateral load performance evaluation of dhajji structures. © 2012, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. Source

Costard S.,Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health Group | Jones B.A.,Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health Group | Martinez-Lopez B.,Complutense University of Madrid | Mur L.,Complutense University of Madrid | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Transboundary animal diseases can have very severe socio-economic impacts when introduced into new regions. The history of disease incursions into the European Union suggests that initial outbreaks were often initiated by illegal importation of meat and derived products. The European Union would benefit from decision-support tools to evaluate the risk of disease introduction caused by illegal imports in order to inform its surveillance strategy. However, due to the difficulty in quantifying illegal movements of animal products, very few studies of this type have been conducted. Using African swine fever as an example, this work presents a novel risk assessment framework for disease introduction into the European Union through illegal importation of meat and products. It uses a semi-quantitative approach based on factors that likely influence the likelihood of release of contaminated smuggled meat and products, and subsequent exposure of the susceptible population. The results suggest that the European Union is at non-negligible risk of African swine fever introduction through illegal importation of pork and products. On a relative risk scale with six categories from negligible to very high, five European Union countries were estimated at high (France, Germany, Italy and United Kingdom) or moderate (Spain) risk of African swine fever release, five countries were at high risk of exposure if African swine fever were released (France, Italy, Poland, Romania and Spain) and ten countries had a moderate exposure risk (Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Sweden and United Kingdom). The approach presented here and results obtained for African swine fever provide a basis for the enhancement of risk-based surveillance systems and disease prevention programmes in the European Union. © 2013 Costard et al. Source

Maselli D.,Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation | Maselli D.,University of Central Asia
Mountain Research and Development | Year: 2012

Sustainable Mountain Development (SMD) in the context of global warming, world population growth, increased water and energy consumption, persisting food insecurity and biodiversity loss, more frequent and intense natural calamities, and the depletion of vital natural resources is a key concern for humanity. It requires the attention and support of many stakeholders and shareholders, including development agencies. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation has been a major promoter of SMD at the global policy and networking level. By supporting the Perth mountain conferences, it has also emphasized the role of research for SMD. With Rio 2012 fast approaching, it is important to understand past efforts to design what new support is needed for ensuring that SMD takes place effectively. © 2012 by the authors. Source

Kunzler M.,University of Zurich | Huggel C.,University of Zurich | Ramirez J.M.,Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
Natural Hazards | Year: 2012

The glacier-covered Nevado del Tolima in the Colombian Cordillera Central is an active volcano with potential lahars that might be more hazardous than those on Nevado del Ruiz. Furthermore, rainfall-triggered floods and landslides notoriously and severely affect the region. For effective disaster prevention, a risk analysis is of primary importance. We present here a risk analysis methodology that is based on the assessment of lahar and rainfall-related flood hazard scenarios and different aspects of vulnerability. The methodology is applied for populated centres in the Combeima valley and the regional capital Ibagué (~500,000 inhabitants). Lahar scenarios of 0. 5, 1, 5, and 15 million m 3 volume are based on melting of 1, 2, 10, and 25 % of ice, firn and snow, respectively, due to volcanic activity and subsequent lahar formation. For flood modelling, design floods with a return period of 10 and 100 years were calculated. Vulnerability is assessed considering physical vulnerability, operationalized by market values of dwelling parcels and population density, whereas social vulnerability is expressed by the age structure of the population and poverty. Standardization of hazard and vulnerability allows for the integration into a risk equation, resulting in five-level risk maps, with additional quantitative estimate of damage. The probability of occurrence of lahars is low, but impacts would be disastrous, with about 20,000 people and more directly exposed to it. Floods are much more recurrent, but affected areas are generally smaller. High-risk zones in Ibagué are found in urban areas close to the main river with high social vulnerability. The methodology has proven to be a suitable tool to provide a first overview of spatial distribution of risk which is considered by local and regional authorities for disaster risk reduction. The harmonization of technical-engineering risk analysis and approaches from social sciences into common reference concepts should be further developed. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Source

Huggel C.,University of Zurich | Khabarov N.,International Institute For Applied Systems Analysis | Obersteiner M.,International Institute For Applied Systems Analysis | Ramirez J.M.,Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
Natural Hazards | Year: 2010

Landslide early warning systems (EWS) are an important tool to reduce landslide risks, especially where the potential for structural protection measures is limited. However, design, implementation, and successful operation of a landslide EWS is complex and has not been achieved in many cases. Critical problems are uncertainties related to landslide triggering conditions, successful implementation of emergency protocols, and the response of the local population. We describe here the recent implementation of a landslide EWS for the Combeima valley in Colombia, a region particularly affected by landslide hazards. As in many other cases, an insufficient basis of data (rainfall, soil measurements, landslide event record) and related uncertainties represent a difficult complication. To be able to better assess the influence of the different EWS components, we developed a numerical model that simulates the EWS in a simplified yet integrated way. The results show that the expected landslide-induced losses depend nearly exponentially on the errors in precipitation measurements. Stochastic optimization furthermore suggests an increasing adjustment of the rainfall landslide-triggering threshold for an increasing observation error. These modeling studies are a first step toward a more generic and integrated approach that bears important potential for substantial improvements in design and operation of a landslide EWS. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009. Source

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