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32nd National and the 1st International Geosciences Congress

Tabriz 17-18 Feb, 2014

Closing statements

 

  • Nearly all of Iran is vulnerable to earthquakes.  A large proportion of the population of Iran is exposed to earthquakes and their associated hazards, such as landslides, particularly in cities.

  • Earthquakes have caused, and will cause in the future, enormous loss of life, injury, destruction of property, and economic and social disruption.  Such loss, destruction, and disruption in earthquakes can be substantially reduced through the development and implementation of mitigation measures.

  • The current state of earthquake science is unable to predict the precise time at which any earthquake will occur.  However, with appropriate and sustained research, it is increasingly possible to identify the approximate locations of future earthquakes and to forecast their likely size and character, which an estimate of the level and nature of the hazard can be made.  The risk associated with the hazard can then be reduced by appropriate educational, social, political and engineering action.

  • The experience of countries such as Japan, Chile, California and New Zealand shows that this approach, practiced over decades, is effective at increasing resilience to earthquakes and, in particular, at reducing the number of deaths in earthquakes.  It is not necessary to predict the precise times of earthquakes to have a dramatic effect in reducing their consequences.

  • Realistic assessment of earthquake hazard requires work.   In particular, it is necessary to identify active earthquake-generating faults, which may be unknown or hidden.  With careful research, their characteristics can be revealed, including their long-term movement rates and the past history of earthquakes on them. 
  • Instrumentation, monitoring, and data gathering to characterize earthquakes are essential activities to develop better knowledge about earthquake hazard and to assess the risks this hazard poses to communities.
  • The vulnerability of buildings, lifelines, public works, as well as industrial and emergency facilities can be considerably reduced through proper earthquake-resistant design and construction practices.  Infrastructure that supports electricity, transportation, drinking water, medical assistance, food distribution and other services is vital immediately after a disaster, and a quick return to functionality speeds the economic and cultural recovery of the affected community.
  • The experience of several countries shows that appropriate building codes and standards, if observed, can greatly reduce the damage caused by earthquakes.  However, the education of the public, including officials, is required for effective implementation and observance of such codes.
  • Significant reduction of earthquake risk depends on individuals and organizations in the private sector taking some responsibility for their actions, so they can be more effective.  The current capability to transfer scientific knowledge and information to these sectors is inadequate.   Improved mechanisms are needed to translate existing information into reasonable and usable specifications, criteria, and practices.
  • Severe earthquakes are a worldwide problem.  Since damaging earthquakes occur infrequently in any one nation, international cooperation is beneficial for mutual learning limited experience.
  • Earthquakes do not recognize political boundaries. A large earthquake can have devastating effects beyond a country’s borders.  Regional collaboration and joint scientific projects are therefore crucial for proper understanding of the hazard and reducing risk to societies.



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