RMS Earthquake Engineer Asked by EERI to Lead Algerian Quake Damage Survey Team

May 30, 2003

California-based Risk Management Solutions (RMS), a provider of products and services for the management of catastrophe risk, announced that the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) has asked Dr. Fouad Bendimerad, vice president of RMS, to lead a reconnaissance team surveying damage caused by last week’s earthquake in Algeria.

EERI is a global professional organization that conducts post-earthquake investigations to improve the science and practice of earthquake engineering. The reconnaissance teams will generate findings in several areas, including performance of structures and emergency response and other public policy concerns. Dr. Bendimerad, and the rest of the reconnaissance team arrived in Algeria during the weekend following the earthquake.

The earthquake struck the north coast of Algeria Wednesday, May 21, at 7:44 pm local time. The U.S. Geological Survey has revised its estimate of the magnitude to Mw6.8 (moment magnitude). The epicenter was located 65 km (40 miles) east of the capital, Algiers, at a depth of 10 km (6 miles). Since the earthquake on Wednesday, May 21, the area has been hit by 3 large aftershocks with a magnitude of 5.0 or greater, including a magnitude 5.8 earthquake on Tuesday, May 27, that caused 3 further fatalities and approximately 300 injuries. Algiers has a population of 2.4 million people.

“Up to 60 buildings are believed to have collapsed in the capital city itself. Damage in Algiers and surrounding areas has affected hospitals, communication channels, and power supplies,” said Bendimerad. “Many of the buildings that collapsed during the earthquake are believed to have been poorly constructed, without adherence to building codes.”

Algeria is frequently subjected to strong earthquakes. One of the worst was on October 10, 1980 when the city of El Asnam was severely damaged by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that killed at least 3,000 people.

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