Flood Damage >> Earthquakes

Recent earthquakes around the world show a pattern of steadily increasing damages and losses that are due primarily to two factors: (1) significant growth in earthquake-prone urban areas and (2) vulnerability of the older building stock, Earthquakes including buildings constructed within the past 20 years. In the United States, earthquake risk has grown substantially with development while the earthquake hazard has remained relatively constant. 

Understanding the hazard requires studying earthquake characteristics and Earthquakes locales in which they occur while understanding the risk requires an assessment of the potential damage to the built environment and to the welfare of people _ especially in high risk areas.

Estimating the varying degree of earthquake risk throughout the United States is useful for informed decision-making on mitigation policies, priorities, strategies, Earthquakes and funding levels in the public and private sectors. For example, potential losses to new buildings may be reduced by applying seismic design codes and using specialized construction techniques. 

However, decisions to spend money on either of those solutions require evidence of risk. In the absence of a nationally accepted criterion and Earthquakes methodology for comparing seismic risk across regions, a consensus on optimal mitigation approaches has been difficult to reach.

While there is a good understanding of high risk areas such as Los Angeles, there is also growing recognition that other regions such as New York City and Boston have a low earthquake hazard but are still at high risk of significant Earthquakes damage and loss. 

This high risk level reflects the dense concentrations of buildings and infrastructure in these areas constructed without the benefit of modern seismic design provisions. In addition, Earthquakes mitigation policies and practices may not have been adopted because the earthquake risk was not clearly demonstrated and the value of using mitigation measures in reducing that risk may not have been understood.

This study highlights the impacts of both high risk and high exposure on losses caused by earthquakes. It is based on loss estimates generated by HAZUS_-MH, Earthquakes a geographic information system (GIS)-based earthquake loss estimation tool developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

In cooperation with the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS). The HAZUS tool provides a method for quantifying future earthquake losses. It is national in scope, Earthquakes uniform in application, and comprehensive in its coverage of the built environment.

This study estimates seismic risk in all Earthquakes regions of the United States by using two interrelated risk indicators: The Annualized Earthquake Loss (AEL), which is the estimated long-term value of earthquake losses to the general building stock in any single year in a specified geographic area (e.g., state, county, metropolitan area); and

The Annualized Earthquake Loss Ratio (AELR), which expresses estimated annualized loss as a fraction of the building inventory replacement value. While building-related losses are a reasonable indicator of relative regional earthquake risk, Earthquakes it is important to recognize that these estimates are not absolute determinants of the total risk from earthquakes. 

This study also presents the earthquake risk in terms of amount of debris generated and social losses including casualty estimates, Earthquakes displaced households, and shelter requirements. Seismic risk also depends on other parameters not included herein such as damages to lifelines and other critical facilities and indirect economic loss.

The HAZUS-MH analysis indicates that the Annualized Earthquake Loss (AEL) to the national Earthquakes building stock is $5.3 billion per year. The majority (77 percent) of average annual loss is located on the West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington) with 66 percent ($3.5 billion per year) concentrated in the state of California. 

The high concentration of loss in California is consistent with the state's high seismic hazard and large structural exposure. The remaining 23 percent (1.1 billion per year) of annual Earthquakes loss is distributed throughout the rest of the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) as reflected in Figure 1.

While the majority of economic loss is concentrated along the West Coast, the distribution of relative earthquake risk, as measured by the Annualized Earthquake Loss Ratio (AELR), Earthquakes is much broader and reinforces the fact that earthquakes are a national problem. There are relatively high earthquake loss ratios throughout the western and central United States (states within the New Madrid Seismic Zone) and in the Charleston, South Carolina area.

Forty-three metropolitan areas, led by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas, Earthquakes account for 82 percent of the total Annualized Earthquake Loss (AEL). Los Angeles County alone has about 25 percent of the total AEL, and the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas together account for nearly 40% of the total AEL. 

This observation supports the need for strategies to reduce the current seismic risk by focusing on rehabilitation or Earthquakes replacement of the existing building stock in our most at-risk communities. Strategies to reduce future losses throughout the nation need to be closely integrated with policies and programs that guide urban planning and development.

When casualties, debris, and shelter data are aggregated by state, California accounts for nearly 50% of estimated debris generated, 60% of displaced households, and 55% of short-term shelter needs. Loss estimates are based on the best science and Earthquakes engineering that was available when the study was conducted; thus, future estimates based on new technology will be different from those presented herein. 

To demonstrate how risk has changed with time, comparisons are drawn with FEMA 366, HAZUS_99 Estimated Annualized Earthquake Loss for the United States, prepared in 2001. This loss study is an important milestone in a long-term, FEMA-led effort to analyze and Earthquakes compare the seismic risk across regions in the United States and contributes to the mission of the National Earthquake Loss Reduction Program (NEHRP).

To develop and promote knowledge and mitigation practices and policies that reduce fatalities, injuries, and economic and other expected losses from earthquakes. The results of this study are useful in at least five ways: Improving our understanding of the seismic risk in the nation, Earthquakes providing a baseline for earthquake policy development and the comparison of mitigation alternatives.

Supporting the adoption and enforcement of seismic provisions of building codes, comparing the seismic risk with that of other natural hazards, and supporting pre-disaster planning for earthquake response and Earthquakes recovery. Much of the current perception of earthquakes in the United States has been shaped by knowledge of the earthquake hazard, which focuses on the location and type of faulting and ground failure, and the distribution of strong ground motion, or shaking. 

Earthquake hazard databases and maps _ produced by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), state geological surveys Earthquakes and other research institutions _ provide consistent and useful data. While hazard maps contribute to understanding earthquakes, there is increasing recognition among policy makers, researchers and practitioners of the need to analyze and map the earthquake risk in the United States. 

As urban development continues in earthquake prone regions there is growing concern about the exposure of buildings, Earthquakes lifelines (e.g. utilities and transportation systems), and people to the potential effects of destructive earthquakes.

Earthquake risk analysis begins with hazard identification, but goes beyond that to investigate the potential consequences to people and property, Earthquakes including buildings, lifelines, and the environment. Risk analysis is useful for communities, regions, and the nation in making better decisions and setting priorities.

The ability to compare risk across states and regions is critical to the management of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP). At the state and community level, Earthquakes an understanding of seismic risk is important for planning, evaluating costs and benefits associated with building codes, and other prevention measures. 

An understanding of earthquake risk is important to risk management for businesses and industries, Earthquakes as well. And, understanding the consequences of earthquakes is critical to developing emergency operations plans for catastrophes.

This study uses Hazards U.S. Multi-hazard (HAZUS-MH) Version MR2, a PC-based standardized tool that uses a uniform engineering-based approach to measure Earthquakes damages, casualties and economic losses from earthquakes nationwide. HAZUS_ MH MR2 was released by FEMA in 2006 and incorporates updates to the building valuation data and enhanced loss estimation functions. Appendix B contains a detailed discussion of HAZUS-MH MR2.

The objective of this study is to assess levels of seismic risk in the United States using HAZUS-MH and nationwide data. The study Earthquakes updates HAZUS_99 Estimated Annualized Earthquake Losses for the United States (FEMA 366/February 2001) and incorporates the 2002 updates to the USGS National Seismic Map and Census 2000 data to estimate annualized economic losses, and debris, shelter and casualty estimates for all fifty states.

The analysis computes two inter-related metrics to characterize earthquake risk: Annualized Earthquake Loss (AEL) and the Annualized Earthquake Loss Ratio (AELR). The AEL addresses two key components of seismic risk: the probability of ground motion occurring in a given Earthquakes study area and the consequences of the ground motion in terms of physical damage and economic loss. 

It takes into account the regional variations in risk. For example, the level of earthquake risk in the New Madrid Seismic Zone is measurably different from the risk in the Los Angeles Basin with respect to: a) the probability of damaging ground motions, and b) the Earthquakes consequences of the ground motions, which are largely a function of building construction type and quality, as well as ground shaking and failure during earthquakes.

Consequences vary regionally, as well. For example, the earthquake hazard is higher in Los Angeles than in Memphis, but the general building stock in Los Angeles is more resistant to the effects of earthquakes. The AEL annualizes expected losses by averaging them per year, Earthquakes which factors in historic patterns of frequent smaller earthquakes with infrequent but larger events to provide a balanced presentation of earthquake risk. 

This enables the comparison of risk between two geographic areas, such as Los Angeles and Memphis, or California and South Carolina. The AEL values are also presented on a per capita basis, Earthquakes to allow comparison of relative risk across regions based on population.

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