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GeoHazards International seeks to reduce death and suffering -- particularly among children -- due to earthquakes and other natural hazards in the world's most vulnerable communities through advocacy, preparedness, prevention and mitigation.
GeoHazards International (GHI) was established in 1991 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing death and injury caused by natural hazards in the world's most vulnerable communities.
These communities, the cities of developing countries, are the least prepared to cope with the earthquake risk that increases exponentially with population density. Recognizing that the needs of the people who live in such vulnerable communities have been virtually ignored, GHI developed and is implementing a four-step plan to reduce future death and injury from earthquakes in the developing world.
This GHI approach begins with raising awareness. Starting with local governments, GHI reaches out to residences and schools to alert individuals to the risk they are facing.
- This first step includes a detailed, sometimes building-by-building, assessment of the actual hazards.
- The second step is to reduce the identified risk, starting with the community's most critical services. Since this requires resources from abroad, as well as resources, commitment and cooperation from local officials, GHI characterizes this as a step of "international assistance plus local responsibility."
- The third step is assuring that new construction is earthquake resistant. This requires the creation and enforcement of modern seismic design codes, as well as oversight of local building practice.
- The fourth step, and one that runs concurrently with the first three, is involvement of local experts, engineers, scientists and government officials with their counterparts abroad. Such collaboration can be nurtured via the Internet, but funded cooperative demonstration projects are most effective.
GHI is funded primarily by tax-deductible donations from individuals, foundations and corporations.
- Kristen Yawitz
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