Conceptual Design of an Earthquake and Tsunami Resistant Building in Sumatra, Indonesia

Geoscientists Without Borders
Tsunami Preparedness Projects

The earthquake and Indian Ocean tsunami of December 26, 2004 left the southwestern coast of Sumatra at the world's highest risk from tsunamis and at significant risk from earthquakes.

Padang, the capital and largest city in West Sumatra Indonesia is considered to have one of the highest tsunami risks in the world due to its high earthquake hazard, vulnerable terrain and population density (more than 800,000 people).

The natural warning in Padang – a strong earthquake that lasts over a minute – will be the first and best indicator of a potential tsunami. People will have only approximately 30 minutes after the shaking stops to reach safe ground. It is estimated that 50,000 inhabitants of Padang will not be able to reach safe ground, even if they leave immediately following the earthquake. Given these circumstances, other evacuation options need to be considered.

Project partners evaluated Padang's tsunami evacuation infrastructure. The pilot project involves geosciences, engineering, political science, and social science aspects to develop a conceptual design for such a structure in Padang Indonesia. The geoscience component includes tsunami modeling and uncertainty in earthquake rupture process.

Status Complete

Statement of Work

Project results, carefully explained and shared with local authorities, the public and engineers resulted in improved evacuation plans and led to a discussion about structural design improvements. Tsunami evacuation structures, conforming to local cultural considerations and a framework for analyzing exiting buildings were provided. Essential to the success of this project was understanding and respecting cultural and religious considerations.

The project produced new partnerships amoung U.S. and Indonesian earth scientists and engineers. Additional funding was obtained (not GWB) to continue more Tsunami and earthquake risk reduction activities in Pandang.

Principal Investigator

Veronica Cedillos 
GeoHazards International

Team members

Geohazards International – Brian Tucker
U.S. Geological Survey – Eric Geist
Rutherford & Chekene – William Holmes
Degenkolb Engineers – Nick Alexander
KOGAMI – Patra Rina Dewi, Dian Noviany
Applied Technology Council – Jon Heintz
Kornberg Associates – Ken Kornberg
Stanford University – Jason Toth, Nathan Canney
Andalas University – Dr. Febrin Ismail and selected students
Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fishereies (DKP) – Dr. Subandono Diposaptono, Abdul Muhari, Enggar Sadtopo
Laboratory of Earth Hazards (LIPI) – Dr. Danny Hilman Natawidjaja
Earth Observatory of Singapore – Dr. Kerry Sieh


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