Selasa, 19 Februari 2013

Declaration of Participants in the International Conference on the Sumatran Earthquake Challenge

Declaration of Participants
in the International Conference
on the Sumatran Earthquake Challenge

Padang, West Sumatra, August 28, 2005

          For the past three days an international group of earthquake scientists and engineers
has met to discuss earthquake hazards in western Sumatra. They reported results from
their studies of the recent earthquakes and tsunamis in North Sumatra and Aceh
provinces as well as their studies of the earthquake hazards of West Sumatra. Specific
recommendations for reducing earthquake and tsunami risks are being sent to
governmental and other organizations.

Summary of Scientific Knowledge

          It is clear from several investigations that the giant earthquakes of December 2004
and March 2005 were caused by sudden rupture of the Sumatran megathrust fault beneath
the islands of Nias and Simeulue and west of mainland Aceh. Rupture of the megathrust
caused the islands and surrounding seafloor to jump upward and toward the Indian ocean
as much as ten meters. During the earthquakes, the west coast of Aceh and North
Sumatra sank one half to one meter. Uplift of the seafloor caused the tsunamis that
struck the coasts after the earthquake.

          Similar earthquakes struck the Mentawai islands and the coasts of West Sumatra and
Bengkulu province in 1797 and 1833. Uplift of the seafloor around the Mentawai islands
during those earthquakes caused large tsunamis that struck the mainland coast. Estimates
of tsunami heights, from historical reports and scientific calculations, range as high as ten
meters. Preliminary calculations suggest that hundreds of thousands of people would be
severely affected by a future giant earthquake and tsunami in West Sumatra and
Bengkulu provinces.

          No one is able to predict scientifically to the nearest day, week or even year when a
great West Sumatran earthquake and tsunami will strike next. But the scientific evidence
strongly suggests it will occur within the lifetimes of most young people living along the
coast today -- such earthquakes occur about every two centuries and the last occurred 172
and 208 years ago. It is very unlikely that any valid prediction will be more specific than
this, but we are hopeful that in the long term there will be improvements in forecasting
the timing and nature of future large earthquakes. Scientific measurements show that
strains now accumulating will culminate in the occurrence of a giant West Sumatran
earthquake. During this future great earthquake, the Mentawai islands will behave like
Nias and Simeulue did recently – they will rise suddenly a meter or more. The mainland
coast of West Sumatra and Bengkulu province will experience the same sort of sinking as
the west coasts of North Sumatra and Aceh – about one half to one meter. This will lead
to substantial permanent coastal changes affecting infrastructure and, hence, peoples’

What has already been done to prepare?

          Specialists from Japan, Indonesia and the US reported that preparation for eventual
earthquake and tsunami disasters can greatly reduce loss of life and property. Among
useful activities are the evacuation simulations that have begun in Padang and
distribution of educational materials to communities at risk from earthquake shaking and
tsunami inundation. Infrastructural changes such as the adoption of better construction
practices could ensure that bridges are still usable after severe shaking and tsunami
inundation. Efforts to establish a tsunami early-warning system for coastal Indian-ocean
communities are also underway through BMG.

          Several scientists reported plans for research that will help understand better the
nature of the earthquake and tsunami hazard to coastal communities in West Sumatra and
Bengkulu provinces. Marine geologic and geophysical studies will lead to a better
understanding of the undersea faults that produce big earthquakes. Studies of small
earthquakes in the coming months and years will help to pin down that section of the
megathrust that is currently locked and that will eventually break to produce big
earthquakes. Better topographic maps of the coastal regions and better bathymetric maps
of the seafloor will enable more reliable estimates of areas that will be flooded by future
tsunamis. Studies of the evidence left by ancient earthquakes and tsunamis will also help
in this regard. Such estimates will aid in long-term urban planning aimed at reducing loss
of life, property and productivity.

Recommendations to Indonesian research institutions

          It is imperative that Indonesian governmental agencies support the continuation and
expansion of earthquake and tsunami research efforts. Moreover, we support the ongoing
efforts of LIPI, BPPT, BMG, BRKP-DKP, ESDM, Bakosurtanal, ITB and other
Indonesian universities to attract substantially greater funding from foreign sources to
facilitate research on this challenge. Successful research efforts with other nations will
help greatly in understanding Sumatra’s earthquake and tsunami challenge. We are
particularly supportive of collaborations with foreign scientists and governments that
include provisions for sustainable improvements in the Indonesian scientific community
and infrastructure.

          Far more reliable maps of potential tsunami inundation are essential to the people of
West Sumatra and Bengkulu provinces. Better bathymetric and topographic maps and a
better understanding of likely tsunami sources will be fundamental input to construction
of these maps. Indonesian research institutions can play a critical role in accomplishing
this goal.

          It is essential that the efforts already begun by LIPI to provide educational materials
to the citizens of West Sumatra be continued and expanded significantly. These materials
have not yet reached many people in coastal West Sumatra and Bengkulu provinces.
And many people who are still fearful of another great tsunami in North Sumatra and
Aceh would benefit from better scientific information.

          Currently, all eyes are focused on the potential for shaking and tsunami damage from
future ruptures of the megathrust. Nonetheless, it is important that Sumatrans not neglect
the risks posed by their other great fault, the Sumatran fault, which runs through the
mountains, from Semanko Bay to Banda Aceh. For example, Banda Aceh will be more
at risk from failure of that fault than from another earthquake and tsunami caused by the
megathrust. In this particular case, what ground motions will likely result from rupture of
this fault and what is the likelihood of their occurrence? Also, the specific location of the
fault must be known so that new construction will not be placed across it.

Recommendations to governments and local organizations

          The gradual, systematic reduction of potential loss of life, property and
productivity should be a fundamental goal. This requires efforts in three areas:
education, emergency response preparation and infrastructural change.

          Education is an extremely important avenue for the reduction of loss of life from
tsunamis and earthquakes. For example, we commend ongoing local efforts in
Padang and Air Bangis to establish procedures for the rapid and orderly evacuation of
people from low-lying coastal regions after a great earthquake. We recommend that
earthquake and tsunami education be incorporated into school curricula. These and
other types of educational efforts must reach more of the at-risk populations and must
be sustained over tens of years.

Emergency response preparedness
          Access to regions affected by future large earthquakes and tsunamis will be
critical to saving lives and property and re-establishing normalcy after the next great
earthquake and tsunami. To ensure access, important bridges, roads, harbors and
airports must be serviceable in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. For
example, efforts must be undertaken to ensure that bridges and their approach
embankments will survive the earthquake and tsunami. Lessons learned from Aceh
will be valuable in this regard. In the case of bridges, the use of shear keys to prevent
lateral separation of bridges from their abutments. Roads farther inland are more
likely to survive tsunami inundation. The airport authorities should have plans to
ensure the viability of their facilities after disasters. For example, equipment should
be available to immediately clear tsunami debris from runways. For the most critical
harbor facilities, tsunami countermeasures should be implemented.

          Emergency response plans should be developed, reviewed and exercised
periodically prior to disasters, at all levels of organization. These plans should
include such things as the practicalities of initial entrance into a tsunami-inundation
zone. The existence of a tsunami early-warning system is intended to serve to inform
local governments when it is safe to return to low-lying areas.

Infrastructural changes.
          Survival from large tsunamis and earthquakes will require a complex approach.
Viability of water-supply pipelines and sewage systems is critical in the aftermath of
the earthquake and tsunami. Therefore the vulnerability of water pipes both aboveand
below-ground needs special attention. For example, water pipes running along
bridges should be adequately attached to structural members of the bridge. Also,
adequate burial of underground pipes will ensure their survival.

          Another activity should be the evaluation of the use of existing tall buildings as
vertical evacuation structures. The use of pile-deck structures in hard-to-evacuate
districts, as in Japan, should also be considered. Special attention should be paid to
the construction of new mosques as vertical evacuation structures.
Floatable structures such as storage tanks and barges may need to have driftprevention

          Establishment of evacuation routes and plans have already begun in Padang and
Air Bangis. These efforts should continue to completion.
Precise pre-disaster surveys of property boundaries would help in post-disaster

          Lessons learned from the recent great earthquakes and tsunamis regarding
building codes and code enforcement should be implemented throughout the
earthquake and tsunami prone regions of Sumatra. Additionally, since many
buildings are built without formal compliance to building codes, better dissemination
of earthquake- and tsunami-resistant building practices need to be promulgated.
Many lessons from the Aceh disaster will be useful here.

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