Earthquake Safe Houses Training for Tsunami Preparedness in West Sumatra
Western parts of Sumatra Island has the potential to hit by big earthquakes that can generate a tsunami. The possible sources of those big earthquakes are located at the subduction zone about 50 km westward of Mentawai Island and seabed fault between Mentawai and Sumatra Island. Since the distance of the sources is not so far, the earthquake may impact severely on the mainland of Sumatra Island. The shaking may damage the buildings, including houses on the Sumatra and Mentawai Islands, shortly before the tsunami comes. Thus, before evacuation from a tsunami, people must first survive from the earthquake. The worst-case may happen if the earthquake-triggered tsunami hit in the night where people are gathering at home. Victims affected by collapsed houses during the earthquake will be unable to evacuate for a tsunami. Therefore, surviving from the earthquake is an absolute requirement before saving themselves from the tsunami. It can be done by building the house or retrofitting the existing houses to be earthquake safer constructions. Many manual books and guidance that contain methods for constructing or strengthening houses for earthquake safer construction have been widely circulated in the community. But in its implementation, the training is needed. Since many houses must be strengthened, all stakeholders, including government, experts, ordinary people, and housebuilders should involve in the process. Above all, the housebuilders are the most important element in building earthquake safer houses. The housebuilder training, including all the stakeholders, has been conducted in Pariaman City, West Sumatra. This paper describes the experiences in conducting and training models of earthquake safer houses. This model can be replicated in other places, particularly along the western side of Sumatra Island.
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