Disaster Resilient Communities in Nepal by 2050

GEM Conference 2023: A Milestone Event Showcasing Advances in Global Earthquake Hazard and Risk Maps, Models and Databases

Bergamo, Italy - June 13, 2023

The Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation, a leading organisation in earthquake hazard and risk modelling and assessment, is set to release its new version of the global earthquake hazard and risk models, maps, and databases. This ground-breaking event will take place as the centrepiece of GEM’s international conference in Bergamo, Italy, on June 13th. Gathering leading researchers and risk management experts, the conference aims to propel the world towards greater earthquake resilience and discuss recent developments in the field.

Since GEM released the Global Earthquake Hazard and Risk maps to the public in December 2018, the data and maps have been recognised as a major milestone in establishing a unified and global understanding of seismic risk. Downloaded thousands of times and embraced by industry experts, these maps have provided valuable insights into earthquake-prone regions worldwide. Building upon this success, GEM continued to develop new products such as Atlas 1.0, an interactive global seismic hazard map, and comprehensive hazard maps available through GEM and distributor platforms.

"We are excited to host this important conference and bring world-leading experts in earthquake hazard and risk research, together with partners across the public and private disaster risk management and risk reduction sectors," said John Schneider, GEM Secretary General. "By sharing our knowledge and expertise, we can work together to reduce the impact of earthquakes and build more resilient communities around the world."

What’s new

In the forthcoming 2023 version of the global seismic hazard model, GEM has made substantial enhancements. Marco Pagani, the Hazard Team Coordinator, shared, "We have incorporated several new models contributed from our partners including the US, Canada, New Zealand and Japan, and achieved greater homogeneity among independent models. We have also improved the spatial resolution of computed results and added more intensity measure types to the hazard outputs, offering a more comprehensive and detailed assessment."

Vitor Silva, the Risk Team Coordinator, highlighted the major updates in the seismic risk model, stating, "Enhancements include major improvements to the global exposure by incorporating new building data due to inflation and population growth, and disaggregating exposure information to a much higher spatial resolution to improve risk estimates, particularly for major urban areas. Building vulnerability estimates have also been updated to reflect local construction practices as well as to incorporate the vulnerability of building contents. Most importantly for humanitarian applications, risk results now include estimates of human mortality, injuries, and displacement."

Alongside the global maps update, GEM’s Catalina Yepes, Seismic Risk Engineer will introduce the Earthquake Scenarios Database saying “We have developed a collection of information on the impacts of some of the most important historical earthquakes, including information on the physical and economic impact, as well as records of ground shaking and ground failure. This approach fills an important gap in disaster consequences databases by providing information on hazard and impact that is much needed for verifying models and estimating future event consequences. We are hosted in GitLab, as a free and open resource for global earthquake risk assessment efforts.”

What to expect

The theme of GEM’s conference “Are we making a difference” provides the platform to showcase these new developments as well as to sample some important applications of GEM’s analysis tools, models and data for risk assessment to inform risk reduction and management decisions.

The conference sets off on an impactful note with an introductory session that highlights the invaluable insights gained from the 2023 M7.7 Kahramanmaras-Gaziantep, Turkey Earthquake. This serves as a powerful reminder of the pivotal role of integrating advanced earthquake risk analysis and modeling into comprehensive risk mitigation strategies. The final session will explore the future of earthquake risk assessment science and practice, emphasising innovation and collaboration.

Distinguished keynote speakers will share their expertise, including Sinan Akkar, Principal Catastrophe Modeler at Turk Reinsurance Inc., who will discuss lessons from the recent M7.7 Kahramanmaras-Gaziantep earthquake in Turkey. Alanna Simpson, Lead Disaster Risk Management Specialist at the World Bank Group, will present on the landscape of disaster risk reduction initiatives, both past and future. Finally, David Wald, Research Geophysicist at the United States Geological Survey (USGS), will present the case for developing an International Macroseismic Scale.

The conference welcomes select attendees in-person by invitation only, while also offering online registration for virtual participation. To join or watch the event online and to learn more about the conference, please visit the official conference web page at: https://www.globalquakemodel.org/gem-conference-2023

(Press Release retrieved from https://www.globalquakemodel.org/gem2023-press-release )

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