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Nov 25, 2013 (3 years and 4 months ago)

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CHEMUN 2013 Background Notes


ECOSOC


1

































CHEMUN 7

Background Notes

Economic and Social Council


CHEMUN 2013 Background Notes


ECOSOC


2

Committee:


Economic and Social
Council

Topic:


Improving infrastructure and management in earthquake
prone areas

Student Officer:

Riya Kumar



Introduction


In March of 2011, one of the
world’s

strongest earthquakes hit Tohoku, Japan
with a magnitude of 9.0

resulting in a confirmed 15,883 deaths and several thousand
misplaced and injured. Apart from a huge loss in human life, the earthquake damag
ed
more than 600,000 buildings and harmed Japans economy, costing the government an
estimated $235 billion U.S. dollars. As scientists and geologists investigated the
aftermath of the earthquake, they discovered that many of the
buildings

were not
strong e
nough to survive the destr
uction inflicted by the earthquake.


Similarly in the

1995

Kobe earthquake, the late response was due to the
government being unable to evaluate the severity and extent of the earthquake. This
has cost nations many lives and furth
er impacted the economic and social well
-
being
of that country. Thus it has become vital for societies to take necessary precautions
and develop the technology required to reduce the devastation produced by
such
natural disasters.



Definition of Key Terms

Earthquakes


An earthquake is the movement of the Earth’s lithosphere
,

consisting of the
crust and upper mantle. It is caused by tensions

within rocks along faults or by
movement in magma in volcanic areas
. A Richter

scale, used to measure the
magnitude of an earthquake
, indicates than an earthquake stronger than a magnitude
of
7
can cause vast destruction.

Disaster Management


It is

t
he organization and management of resources and responsibilities for
dealing with all humanitarian aspects of emergencies, especially response, recovery,
and preparedness, to lessen the destruction brought by disasters.


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Earthquake Engineering


T
he scientific field concerned with protecting society and the environment
from earthquake by
limiting the seismic risk to socio
-
economically acceptable levels
.

Seismic

It relates to earthquakes and other vibrations in the
earth’s

crust.

United Nations Dev
elopment Program

(UNDP)


This is the U.N.

s global development network. It operates in 177 countries
,
and its purpose is
to provide assistance and solutions for global
and national

development challenges that nations face.

UNDP also

collaborates with

gover
nments,
civil society
organizations
,

and communities to address the risks and consequences of
disasters
.

The United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)


T
he purpose of

UNISDR is to

ensur
e

the implementation of the International
Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

UNISDR created the Hyogo Framework for Action
aimed at
reducing disaster risk.

L
ink to the document:

http://www.unisdr.org/2005/wcdr/intergover/official
-
doc/L
-
docs/Hyogo
-
framework
-
for
-
action
-
english.pdf


Emergency Management Information System


This is
a computer database which provides

responders which provides
graphical and real
-
time information, during a disaster. It can be used to determine
possible risks and prepare for contingency plans for different types of emergencies.


Background Information


Earthquakes have contributed to tho
usands of lives lost over the years, thus the
organization and response prior, and during the earthquake are vital to alleviate
potential damage.


E
mergency
Management


As mentioned before, emergency or disaster management is the organization
and
management of resources and responsibilities for dealing with all humanitarian
aspects of emergencies
. The following are phases of emergency management.


Prevention and Mitigation


Prevention has recently been added as a phase to disaster management.

It
re
fers to action taken to avoid an incident from occurring. However
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earthquakes, when predicted, are inevitable so prevention here denotes
identifying and minimizing risks before the on
-
set of the disaster. In this phase
it is particularly important to carry

out building inspection to reduce potential
hazards. It also appeals for the installation of fire detection and extinguishing
systems and building renovation to maintain safety standards.

Disaster mitigation are steps taken to reduce the effects of an ant
icipated event
or one that has already occurred. Individuals and families should be prepared
to avoid any unnecessary risk to their health or property. Here specialists can
be hired to conduct risk identification and educate citizens in earthquake prone
ar
eas on how to ensure their assets and possessions.

Disaster mitigation involves structural measures where actions are taken to
change the surroundings of a building, such as the installation of an
Earthquake Valve to shut off the natural gas supply.
Non
-
structural measures
refer to taking insurance or moving homes to a safer location.

Preparedness, Response, and Recovery

The third phase, preparedness, involves developing and constructing
equipment and procedures that can be used when a disaster occurs
. It includes
building shelters, employing emergency communication systems, and
practicing evacuation plans. A
paramount

step for this phase is the preparation
of a disaster supplies kit in times of evacuation.

Response consists of a
ctions carried out befo
re, during, and after a
disaster
,
aimed at saving lives, reducing economic losses, and alleviating suffering.

Usually evacuation, the removal of individuals from a place of danger to a
safe one, occurs during this phase.

Donations and gifts are also sent by the
international community to those affected by the disaster. This was effective
during Hurricane Sandy, when volunteers used a gift registry from victims of
the disaster, and donors could purchase these items online
from a website.

Recovery, the final phase, is when actions are taken by a community to return
to normalcy or near
-
normalcy. It comprises of the restoration of basic services,
the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure, subsidies from governments to
victi
ms and those affected, and mass care for the displaced.

Earthquake Engineering

It is the scientific field
concerned
with protecting

society

and the environment
from

earthquake by
limiting the seismic risk to socio
-
economically acceptable levels
.
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The primar
y objectives of this type of engineering are to predict the consequence of
strong earthquakes on the infrastructure and environment, and to construct
infrastructure and technology that can survive such catastrophes.


Earthquake Resistant Construction

Earth
quake Resistant Construction is the implementation of seismic design
which enables building structures to survive strong earthquakes.

Around thirty percent of the world’s
populations live

in buildings made of
adobe, which is not strong enough to tolerate
e
arthquakes. Strengthening of
such structures can be done by improving the quality of construction, and
using a compact plan which improves seismic performance.

Similarly,

for

limestone and sandstone structures a base isolation foundation, one of the
most effective earthquake
-
resistant techniques, can be utilized to protect
buildings.

A reinforced concrete structure uses

steel reinforcement bars that
strengthen

and shield
mater
ial that is brittle
.
Cross bracing, reinforcing walls using steel
beams, are also good for enduring tremors. To improve upon infrastructure
that has already been built steel frames can be wrapped pillars of buildings or
bridges. In the case of new building
s, regulations should be placed upon the
maximum height

and shape of a building. Pyramid
-
shaped skyscrapers are
more effective in resisting vibrations.

For earthquake
-
prediction seismometers, instruments that measure motions of
the ground, can be employed
to foresee earthquakes, however they are not
always accurate. Earthquake risk maps, used in the U.S.A., can also be
implemented in other countries to control land use in earth
-
quake prone areas.

Lastly, earthquake simulators can be used to

test the strengt
h of buildings.


Relevant UN Documents, Treaties and Events

In the past, the U.N. has drafted and passed many resolutions related to response and
assistance during the situation of natural disasters
.

For more information on past

resolutions and treaties the following link can be used.

http://www.un.org/en/documents/index.shtml



Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti (201
0
/28
)

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o

This
resolution called for the commitment and
collaboration of
U.N. organizations, the World Bank, and other nations in helping
Haiti recover from the earthquake.

o

It called for the reconstruction of infrastructure and post
-
disaster
socio
-
economic recovery, and stability.




Improving the effectiveness a
nd coordination of military and civil
defense

assets
for natural disaster response

(#65/307) August 25
th
, 2011

o

This

resolution

calls for the use of civil and military defense assets
for natural disaster response, based on humanitarian principles
.

o

It also a
ffirms the need for training to improve effectiveness for
disaster response.

.



International cooperation on humanitarian assistance in the field of natural
disasters, from relief to development
(
#54/211
)

June 2011

o

It calls
for the strengthening of the
coordination of emergency
humanitarian assistance of the United Nations system

and the
international community.

o

It also calls for the further implementation of the Hyogo
Framework for Action, 200
-
2015.

o

This framework is designed to analyze methods of reduc
ing
disaster risk and to aid nations and communists post
-
disaster.


Points to Consider


The following are a set of guidelines that can be used as a reference when
writing a resolution. Pleas
e note that these points do not form

comprehensive
solutions, but paths that can be taken into consideration and explored when drafting
resolutions.



LEDCs are very badly affected by earthquakes. How can MEDCS and other
U.N. organizations provide assistance to these countries in terms of
tech
nology and
infrastructure? These countries also require aid in the after
-
math of such disasters.

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The infrastructure, especially those of buildings need to be reconsidered

as
most deaths are caused because the infrastructure is unable to withstand the
force

of the earthquake.

Consider earthquake engineering.



Technology for developing earthquake
-
predicting tools is still underway
,

thus
governments should support research towards this field.
How can this be
achieved?



Citizens need to be educated on how to reac
t during the event of an earthquake.
How can the government train its citizens?



Children are extremely vulnerable in times of natural disasters. To ensure
safety, emergency drills should be conducted more than once a year. Teachers
can also include activit
ies in the school curriculum which teach children about
earthquakes and how to handle them.




Evacuation is extremely important in these situations. Governments should
train their squads for better and more efficient response.



After the occurrence of an
earthquake many people are left homeless and
unemployed. How can governments support their citizens and give them
employment. They can for a period of time employ citizens in the
reconstruction of damaged infrastructure.


Bibliography

http://science.yourdictionary.com/earthquake

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_management

http://training.fema.gov/emiweb/downloads/EarthquakeEM/Session%2011/S
ession%2011%20Response%20and%20Recovery_01.pdf

http://www.undp.org.cn/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&
catid=10&sid=44434

http://
www.unisdr.org/2005/wcdr/intergover/official
-
doc/L
-
docs/Hyogo
-
framework
-
for
-
action
-
english.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthquake_engineering

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://webworld.unes
co.org/safeguarding/en/pdf/txt_sini.pdf

http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/disaster
-
mitigation.html

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http://www.co.grandtraverse.mi.us/departments/Emergency_Management___H
omeland_Security/Five_Phases_of_Emergency_Management.htm

Appendix




This is a graphical representation of the Richter Scale

used to measure the severity
of an earthquake.