Respond to Earthquake in Iran
PWJ’s support operation in Iran for 2005 combined a whole series of activities, which began with relief mainly for the city of Bam in southeastern Iran immediately after an earthquake struck the area in December 2003. PWJ endeavored to spread earthquake-safer construction techniques and raise the residents’ awareness of disaster prevention,
through seminars that have been held since 2004.
In a school construction project intended to create a learning environment where children can feel comfortable and secure, a boys’ primary school was constructed in Bam and two primary-secondary schools, one for boys and the other for girls, were built
in Irandegan District, Sistan-Baluchistan Province. These schools were handed over to the local education authorities as soon as they were completed in January 2006, and now a total of approximately 680 children are able to learn in a safe environment free from fear about the collapse of their school buildings.
PWJ also held seminars, aimed at residents, on earthquake-safer construction techniques in collaboration with the Housing Foundation of Iran and local governments. The seminars were held a total of eight times: five times in Bam, once in Kerman, and
twice in Zarand and a total of around 400 residents participated. At the seminars, we first gave an easy to understand description of the mechanism of earthquakes and the causes of building collapse. Then, we provided basic knowledge of earthquake-safer construction and methods to protect against any future quakes. Training sessions on earthquake-safer construction techniques were also held for local craftsmen in Bam, over two periods. Out of approximately 70 participants, 29 passed the strictly evaluated final achievement tests and received certificates of completion issued jointly by the
Housing Foundation of Iran and PWJ. These 29 engineers, who have acquired the local government approved techniques, are expected to contribute to building a city well fortified against earthquakes.
In addition, PWJ produced 1,500 copies of a Textbook for Earthquake-safer Construction written in both Persian and English, so that the people could review the knowledge and techniques they had learned at the seminars and utilize this information for disaster prevention and rehabilitation. These textbooks were distributed, not only to the participants of the seminars and training sessions, but also to the housing foundations and education authorities in Bam, Kerman and the capital, Teheran, as these are all involved in the reconstruction of houses and guidance on earthquakesafer technique. Starting with the supply of tents and daily commodities immediately after the quake in 2003, PWJ has continued its support activities, mainly the dissemination of earthquake-safer techniques, for more than two years. With the distribution of the textbooks, its activities in Iran are complete and PWJ’s Iran program is expected to close in February 2006.
At a training seminar on earthquake-safer construction.
Nobuhiro Okubo (right) and a school building under construction.