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Degenkolb Joins EERI Team for 2016 Central Italy Earthquake Study

On August 24, 2016, a M6.2 earthquake shook Central Italy in the early morning hours. The earthquake resulted in nearly 300 casualties, more than 400 injured, and has left 4,500 people homeless.

Erica Fischer joined the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute’s (EERI) Learning from Earthquakes reconnaissance team that traveled to Italy in early September. The team worked jointly with the European Union (EU) Center and the Italian consortium ReLUIS to understand the performance of retrofitted buildings and school and hospital facilities.

Performance of Retrofitted Buildings
Similar to the US, Italy has many historical masonry buildings. Both countries are challenged with the cost and complexity associated with retrofitting these vulnerable buildings. The Central Italy Earthquake demonstrates that masonry buildings with even relatively minor retrofits performed significantly better than unretrofitted buildings. However, in both countries, public understanding of the importance of seismic retrofits is limited. Without public support, municipalities are unable to raise funds to implement retrofits.

Performance of Schools and Hospitals
Each region visited by the EERI/EU Center/ReLUIS Team had made schools a priority for their communities. For the most part, the school year started on time (September 13) whether classes were held in temporary structures or the original undamaged school building. The Amatrice High School was a prefabricated concrete structure that was designed to be the town’s emergency management center after a disaster. This school building performed well during the earthquake. However, the Amatrice Middle and Elementary schools did not. These school buildings were severely damaged.

During their trip, the team examined hospitals in many of the towns in Central Italy. In two of these towns, Amatrice and Amandola, the hospitals were significantly damaged. Patients in these hospitals had to be transported to neighboring hospitals because of the magnitude of building damage. Not only did the local municipality have to coordinate sending patients to other hospitals, but these hospitals could not serve their communities directly after the event.

Want to Learn More?
For more information on the EERI’s reconnaissance trip, please contact Erica Fischer at or (206) 292-9240. Interested in hosting a lunchtime presentation about EERI’s trip at your office? Please contact Kenda Salisbury at or (206) 340-8110.

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Posted by tinabarni on September 30, 2016 10:08 AM
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