Swiss Re Supports Indian Quake Safety

March 7, 2008

Swiss Re has participated in a workshop in New Delhi – “Integrating Earthquake Risk Mitigation into Hospital Facilities Planning” – organized by US-based NGO GeoHazards International and the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, to promote earthquake risk management in the city.

More than 150 hospital and healthcare sector stakeholders from medical institutions in and around Delhi attended the workshop, held as part of a campaign to reduce earthquake risk in hospital facilities in Delhi.

Swiss Re noted: “As part of the Earthquake Safety Initiative for Lifeline Buildings in Delhi, top Indian and international experts conducted sessions on non-structural mitigation measures in hospital buildings, reviewed best-practice and looked at ways to ensure minimal disruption post-disaster, as well as seismic retrofitting in existing buildings.

“Delhi is located in the second-highest zone of earthquake hazard in India. The 2001 Bhuj earthquake in Gujarat, a recent event in India, recorded over 20,000 fatalities, 166,000 injured, approximately 348,000 buildings destroyed and 844,000 damaged in the Bhuj-Ahmadabad-Rajkot area, leaving 600,000 homeless.

“The Indian State Department estimated that the earthquake affected, directly or indirectly, 15.9 million people and estimated direct economic losses at $1.3 billion. These statistics reveal that casualties, damage and disruption caused by an earthquake affecting an urban center are vast when no risk mitigation measures are in place.”

Dhananjay Date, Managing Director of Swiss Re Services India Private Limited, stressed: “Proactive risk mitigation is a key factor in preparing for and providing possible relief against the human, social and economic consequences of natural disasters.” He also noted that Swiss Re was “delighted” to participate in efforts to mitigate the consequences of earthquakes in the region.

L. Thomas Tobin, COO of GeoHazards International commented: “We have worked for years with scientists and engineers from India and other countries, helping communities threatened by earthquakes reduce death and suffering, so that they are able to develop and prosper.” He welcomed Swiss Re’s participation.

Alok Kumar, Natural Hazard Expert at Swiss Re, responded that the workshop “represents an excellent undertaking in supporting a critical need in India and we are very pleased to be able to share Swiss Re’s expertise on natural perils that have been developed over three decades.”

He also discussed the role of insurance at the workshop, indicating that it is a “key piece in mitigating major disasters. By understanding and managing earthquake risks, hospitals and other lifeline buildings can continue to operate for the community.”

Source: Swiss Re –

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