Almost every year an earthquake with a magnitude of 8 occurs. When such earthquakes occur nearby populated areas, the effects are often devastating. Several devastating earthquakes have recently caused worldwide suffering. They included the tsunami induced by Off-Sumatran earthquake of 2004, Bam earthquake, Iran, of 2003, Chuetsu earthquake of 2004 Niigata, Japan and Pakistan earthquake of 2004, Niigata, Japan and 2005 Pakistan earthquake. Storms and floods have also been resulted in huge losses of dtves and properties.

Japanese academic societies such as the Japan Society of Civil Engineers (JSCE), Architectural Institute of Japan (AIJ) have contributed to the risk reduction of natural disasters worldwide, by sending reconnaissance teams, to analyze and to investigate disasters and induced damages, and to make recommendations for disaster mitigation. Quick and appropriate advices from experts in the fields of Civil Engineering and Architectural Engineering are considered to be quite valuable in long-term. However, the activities of engineers fro the societies of Civil Engineers and Architectural engineers are thought to be sufficient to reduce the suffering of people inflicted by the natural disasters. It is considered that requirements for technical diagnosis of the causes of damage, the suggestions for effective rehabilitation, retrofitting techniques for damaged buildings, dwellings and infra-structures such as roadways, railways, bridges as well as lifelines by the experts from the fields of Civil Engineering and Architectural Engineering are quite high.

Due to the lack of correct knowledge and understanding of natural disasters, people can have groundless fears and take longer time to get over their anxiety. Furthermore, it is expected that public awareness and retrofitting of dwellings should become more wide-spread and increase the overall well being of the people. Hence, there yet remains an important place for the experts from the fields of both civil engineering and architectural engineering for the education of the public for natural disaster mitigation. The concept of Engineers without borders-Japan was born during a meeting between officials of UN-OCHA and JSCE members (M. Hamada and O. Aydan) at the UN-OCHA headquarters in Banda Aceh when the JSCE team visited Aceh region of Indonesia for the reconnaissance and investigation of damage caused by 2004 Sumatra earthquake on civil engineering structures. The JSCE members were asked by the civil engineer of UN-OCHA to check the safety of a governmental building, where the officials of UN-OCHA were used to have meetings with the officials of Aceh provincial government. This fact strongly implied that the role of engineers is essential for the recovery of basic services of affected people in short term and as well as the re-construction of damaged area.

We, as the engineers from the fields of Civil Engineering Architectural Engineering, hereby establish the NPO for the purpose of supporting directly the damaged areas and affected people and also to develop activities to reduce the natural disasters within Japan and worldwide


EWB-Japan is a Non-Profitable Organization for natural disaster mitigation. Presently consist of two academic sister societies, namely, Japan Society of Civil Engineers and Architectural Institute of Japan. However, it will also include other engineering societies such as mechanical engineers, geotechnical engineers, electrical engineers. Public sectors such as the Ministries of land and transport, and Foreign Affairs, JICA and private sectors such as construction companies and consultants are expected to provide the fundamental supports for the organization. Without any doubt, the participation of volunteering senior and retired engineers from different disciplines would be one of the fundamental pillars of the EWB-Japan. The EWB-JAPAN was officially established on December 13, 2005.


2004 Off-Sumatra Earthquake of December 26, 2004

The first activity of EWB-JAPAN is the inspection of the building in Banda Aceh, used by Aceh Provincial Government for meeting with officials of UN-OCHA. The preliminary lectures given to teachers of primary schools and students of primary and secondary students in Banda Aceh and Jakarta, using some educational materials sent trough internet and presentation prepared on-site may be counted for another preliminary activity of EWB-JAPAN.

The third preliminary activity associated with the suitability of the re-alignment of the roadway between Banda Aceh and Meulaboh in response to request the Aceh Provincial Governor. The United Nations collaborated with the members of JSCE team and assigned a helicopter for this purpose. The JSCE team investigated the route between Banda Aceh and Meulaboh and submitted the outcomes of the investigation to the provincial government and presented these results at a meeting with the Indonesian officials at Jakarta.

Nias Earthquake of March 28, 2005

Japan Society of Civil Engineers (JSCE) dispatched support teams for restoration and rehabilitation of civil engineering structures damaged during Nias island earthquake on March 28, 2005 during April, 2005 and January, 2006. When the Nias earthquake occurred on March 28, 2005, the JSCE decided to dispatch a support team consisting of several members (O. Aydan, S. Miwa, H. Kodama, T. Suzuki) with Prof. Dr. M. Hamada as the general coordinator of the support team to Nias Island together with the collaboration of the engineers of Adhikaria State Company of Indonesia. The mission of this team was to provide expertise knowledge and suggestions to local engineers and authorities for the reconstruction and rehabilitation works. The support team of April 2005 identified that the cause of the damage was resulting mainly from ground liquefaction and recommended that geotechnical investigations in association with the re-construction or repair of superstructures should be carried out.

The results of the technical inspections and recommendations by this team were presented to local engineers at Nias.  Then, JSCE has decided to dispatch the second team in January 2006 for the training and instructions for how to carry out geotechnical investigations and how to utilize their results in the repair and re-construction of civil engineering structures as well as buildings under the request of Drs. Rudolf M. Pardede, Vice Governor of North Sumatra Province.

The second team donated one Swedish cone penetration device to the Public works office of Nias Island Local Government upon the training of engineers and the team promised to donate the second device to your office, Road and Bridge Office, North Sumatera Province.

Educational Program for Children of Aceh for Natural Disaster Mitigation

JSCE initiated an educational program for the children of Aceh Province for natural disaster mitigation. Two teams were dispatched to Banda Aceh. The members of the first team were M. Hamada, Kiyono, T. Suzuki and the team visited several primary, secondary and high schools during August 2005. Then the second team consisted of student members from Waseda and Kyoto Universities under the leadership of M. Hamada.

Kashmir earthquake of October 8, 2005

A huge devastating occurred on October 8, 2005 nearby the city of Muzaffarabad of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). The earthquake killed more than 75000 people and caused huge devastation of buildings civil infra structures and numerous large-scale landslides. EWB-JAPAN decided to dispatch the first team for preliminary investigations and to assess the local necessities. The first investigation/ technical support team consisted of four civil engineers and dispatched to the severely damaged areas in Pakistan by the Pakistan Earthquake during the period from Oct. 24 to 30, 2005 in a close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The JSCE team studied and assessed the damage caused to bridges, buildings, embankments and slopes, and also exchanged opinions about the results of the assessment of the damages to structures and facilities as well as the methods of temporary repairs, restorations and reconstructions with authorities and engineers from the related Pakistani organizations such as Capital Development Authority (CDA) and National Highway Authority (NHA).

In the exchanges, the members from the Japanese team were strongly requested from the Pakistani engineers to share the technologies and knowledge, which have been accumulated through the experiences of many earthquake-related-disasters in Japan on the following themes:

1.Methods of the temporary repairs and reconstructions of damaged road facilities including bridges and embankments based on more detailed assessment
2. Assessment of damaged buildings and the methods of temporary repairs and reconstructions
3. Assessment of slope stability, temporary measures and permanent protection measures

In order to respond to the above-mentioned requests, JSCE and AIJ had organized and decided to dispatch the investigation/ technical support team to Pakistan from the 18th to 28th of November (See list of members and itinerary of the team). After the completion of damage investigation in the affected areas, the team held seminars at NHA and CDA separately on the three issues mentioned above as well as the results of its investigation for the relevant authorities and engineers. The team prepared quick reports and in the first part of the report an overall view of geology, tectonics, seismicity and structural as well as geotechnical damages concerning civil engineering structures and buildings were presented. The second part of the report described the recommendations of the team for the temporary and permanent restoration and re-construction of the earthquake affected civil engineering structures.

The main team had a symposium by Japan Society of Civil Engineering (JSCE) and Architectural Institute of Japan (AIJ) joint mission for supporting reconstruction and rehabilitation in quake devastated areas. In this symposium, Chairman National Highway Authority of Pakistan, Major General Farrukh Javed has said, experiences and observations of Japan will prove very useful for us in the reconstruction and rehabilitation process in the quake hit areas. This cooperation will further cement friendly ties between Pakistan and Japan. He said NHA would have considerable advantages from the experiences and observations of Japan in reconstruction and rehabilitation activities in quake stricken areas. He expected that studies of Japanese experts about affected areas will facilitate the rehabilitation work. He also commended the joint mission of Japan Society of Civil Engineering (JSCE) & Architectural Institute of Japan (AIJ) to support the reconstruction and rehabilitation activity in the affected areas and holding such a symposium on this subject.

Japanese Professor Dr. M. Hamada (Waseda University) spoke on purposes of Japanese Reconnaissance Team and International Cooperation for Earthquake disaster reduction, Professor Dr. Omer Aydan gave an overview of 2005 Kashmir Earthquake and expressed his views on Slope Stability Assessment Procedures. Mr. T. Kobayashi threw light on Bridges’ investigation and assessment. In the final session of symposium, recommendations were constituted with regard to facilitate the reconstruction and rehabilitation process. Joint Secretary Ministry of Communications Mr. Firdous Alam expressed gratitude to the Japanese experts for taking interest in rehabilitation operation and extending cooperation. The symposium was rounded off with presentation of shields to the Japanese friends.

The third team dispatched for GSP Conference and site investigations. An International Conference on Earthquake in Pakistan and Its implications and Hazard Mitigation was organized by Pakistan Geological Survey during January 18-19. In this conference, the members of EWB team, namely, Prof. Dr. K. Konagai, Prof. Dr. O. AYDAN, H. Kodama gave lectures on “similarities between the Pakistan Earthquake and other earthquakes: Examples of remedial measures and/or post-earthquake surveys for reconstructions” and “ Geological and Seismological aspects of the Oct. 8 Earthquake and A Geotechnical Evaluation of Failures of Natural & Cut Slopes and Their Implications on Civil Infra-Structures and Site Selection”. The third dispatched team also investigated disaster area and carried out further inspections and geotechnical investigations. Some meetings were held with Pakistani Institutes such as NESPAK.

Seminar at Karachi University

A seminar on restoration and reconstruction of the areas affected by earthquake on October 8 was organised by the Cowasjee Earthquake Study Centre, Department of Civil Engineering, NED University of Engineering and Technology in collaboration with Japan Society of Civil Engineers and Architectural Institute of Japan and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The chairman of Karachi Port Trust, Vice-Admiral Ahmad Hayat, said that implementation of good engineering practices and disaster conscious designs could prevent and minimize the damages and the consequent loss of human lives. Referring to the participation of scholars from Japan, he said that Japan was considered as the cradle of knowledge in earthquake engineering. Located virtually on a volcanic island, Japan, is often termed as the quintessence of earthquakes, he added, saying it was therefore not surprising that some of the best known technology to avert and fight this adversity of earthquake had grown from Japan.

Prof. Kazuo Konagai of EWB team said that an intense earthquake (M 7.6) occurred in northeastern frontier area of Pakistan, about 90-km NNE of Islamabad at 8.28(PST) on Oct 8, 2005. In terms of death toll and its impact on society, this massive earthquake could be compared with Kanto killer earthquake of 1923 occurred in Japan, whose magnitude was later estimated to have been between 7.9 and 8.4, he added. Referring to some JICA projects, he said that those included restoration of four bridges on the Jehlum River, rehabilitation of Muzaffarabad and designing prototype seismic resistant and barrier-free basic health units in the NWFP and the AJK.

Prof. Omer Aydan of EWB team said that one of the most distinct characteristics of 2005 Kashmir earthquake was widespread slope failures all over the epicentre area, which caused extensive damages to housing and structures founded on slopping soil deposits. Extensive natural and cut slope failures occurred along Neelum, Jhelum and Kun valleys, which obstructed both river flow and roadways, he added, saying many slope failures associated with highly sheared and weathered dolomite limestone occurred along the presumed surface of the earthquake fault.

Some peculiar soil slope failures were observed in both Balakot and Muzzaffarabad. These slopes failures occurred in conglomeratic soil deposits with rounded large cobbles, which are products of the past glaciation's' period. He advised that if the construction of buildings next to slopes in relation to site selection for resettlement and re-construction was allowed, there should be a safety zone between the slope crest and allowable construction boundary.

Talking of some tectonic studies in relation to Karachi, Prof. Aydan pointed out that there were seismic hazards for Karachi region as well in future, and as such there was need of establishing more and stronger monitoring stations. He said that seismic area in Karachi was increasing day by day, which also warned that a tsunami was in area near Karachi. Prof. Yoshiaki Nakano said that damages observed in the quake affected areas, including Islamabad, Abottabad, Battal, Balakot, Muzaffarabad, etc could be attributed to material quality, reinforcement details, construction practice of beam-column joints etc. He said that safety evaluations of buildings exposed to intense shaking were also necessary to identify their post-earthquake safety to future events including aftershocks. Dr. Takao Nishikawa, Prof. Sarosh H Lodi and Dr. A Samad Khan also spoke at the seminar.

President Kazuo Konagai

Established 2006/06/09

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