In earthquakes, a high number of school buildings collapse.
Worldwide, school buildings have proven to be disproportionately affected and among the most dangerous buildings in earthquakes.
OUR SCHOOL LIFE-SAFETY PROGRAMS
For the cost of building one new school, we can seismically strengthen three or more schools – and save children’s lives. Below are the stories behind some of our school-strengthening projects.
In 2013, Miyamoto Global Disaster Relief embarked on an initiative to rehabilitate the 1,400-student earthquake-damaged Lycée Nationale de Cité Soleil in Haiti.
The Restoration of Cite Soleil’s Only Public High School
The Cite Soleil community is known for extreme poverty. Due to its instability and violence, many organizations had security protocols prohibiting Cite Soleil from accessing assistance.
Because of damage and unsafe design, the 16-classroom school – the only public secondary school in the commune – was ordered evacuated after the 2010 earthquake.
For more than four years, the students studied in crammed make-shift classroom structures set up in the courtyard.
Miyamoto Relief galvanized more than 20 Haitian businesses, US private donors and the Japanese Government to invest in the rebuilding of the school.
In 2014, construction was completed and the school was retrofitted to international standards, becoming a seismic strengthening model for schools throughout Haiti.
Miyamoto Relief assessed 195 buildings on 51 public school campuses to identify the most structurally dangerous buildings. Funded by UPS Foundation and in partnership with UNISDR and Nepal government.
Assessing 195 School Buildings in Pokhara, Nepal for Seismic Risk
More than 30,000 classrooms collapsed and 15,000 additional classrooms were structurally unsafe to occupy after the April 2015 earthquake and aftershocks.
To help the Government prioritize funding for school strengthening, this study found that 18 of 195 school buildings were at high-risk of building damage or collapse in a future earthquake or heavy aftershock.
These 18 dangerous school buildings (9 percent of those surveyed) will account for more than 40 percent of the total fatalities in an earthquake in Pokhara, Nepal’s second largest urban center.
Seismically strengthening, or retrofitting, all 18 school buildings would cost about US $100,000-120,000 per building, and would safeguard more than 600 schoolchildren’s lives.
Tucked away in the Himalayan Mountains, the Shree Shiladevi was deemed unsafe to occupy after sustaining heavy earthquake damage.
The Rebuilding of Earthquake-Damaged Himalayan Mountain School in Nuwakot, Nepal
Miyamoto Relief partnered with nonprofit Round Table to raise funds and design the repairs and strengthening of the 18-classroom school building to international standards for life safety.
In 2016, the construction works were completed and the 300 schoolchildren and their teachers were able to move back into seismically strengthened classrooms.
Thousands of children in Haiti study in school buildings that are at high risk of collapse. Miyamoto Relief collaborated with UNICEF to help address this imminent danger to Haitian children’s lives.
Tackling Dangerous School Buildings in Haiti
Miyamoto Relief structurally assessed all 160 public schools in the Western Department of Haiti—an area prone to high-magnitude earthquakes with hundreds of large, active faults. The assessments’ aim was to identify how many children could lose their lives if an earthquake occurs here.
29 of the 160 public school buildings were vacant, with earthquake-related damage from the 2010 earthquake still apparent. Some already were demolished. Even five years after the earthquake, children still study in temporary tin and plywood classroom structures
Of the remaining 131 school buildings, a handful of very structurally weak and poorly constructed large school buildings are estimated to be so dangerous they put the lives of 7,300 children at risk. This is a frightening number.
But the study also showed that, in these schools, 20% of expected child deaths—or 1,500 fatalities—would likely occur in the most dangerous 8 school buildings. Just eight.
By seismically strengthening 8 school buildings, 1,500 students’ lives can be saved! The cost: approximately only US $900,000. This means for $600 each spent on retrofitting, a young life will be saved.
More than 4,000 students use the overcrowded, dangerous school every weekday. It did not collapse in the 2010 Haiti earthquake due to its distance from the epicenter, but its location is frighteningly close to Haiti’s largest fault line.
Retrofitting the Most Dangerous School in Haiti
In 2010, Dr. Kit Miyamoto passed by the Petion-Ville High school every day as he traveled to various disaster sites. Because of its construction, Kit considers this school to be one of the most dangerous buildings in Haiti.
The large 3-story unreinforced concrete school is built on top of and held up by thin columns. It is difficult to fathom they could withstand the next Haitian earthquake.
Haiti is known to experience back-to-back major earthquake disasters. The first earthquake that closed down more than 5,000 schools and killed thousands of children occurred along a minor fault line. Earthquake risk in Haiti is greater today than ever before.
Thousands of children are at risk of dying if this school building collapses. Miyamoto Relief developed a technical solution and seismic strengthening plan to safeguard the lives of the 4,000 students and is currently raising construction funds with high hopes of retrofitting the school in 2018.
Following Nepal’s disastrous 2015 earthquakes, Miyamoto Relief partnered with Child Reach Nepal to support school reconstruction efforts in Sindhulpalchok, one of the worst affected areas of Nepal.
Post-earthquake School Assessments in Nepal
Miyamoto Relief assessed earthquake damage at 11 campuses to develop rebuilding recommendations. A mix of repair and retrofit, demolition and reconstruction was recommended.
Many of these schools are built dangerously on the razor edge of slopes. Every year landslides in Nepal kill hundreds of people. Earthquakes only add to this precarious situation.
To mitigate the risk of school buildings sliding down mountains and collapsing on students, our engineers recommended stabilizing the slopes with retaining walls at key locations.