International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean   

Newsletter ISDR Inform - Latin America and the Caribbean
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Newsletter for Latin America and the Caribbean        Inssue No. 15, 1999


IDNDR Symposium on the RADIUS
Initiative for Earthquake-Safe Cities
11-14 October 1999, Tijuana, Mexico

The International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) Secretariat has been implementing the RADIUS (Risk Assessment Tools for Diagnosis of Urban Areas against Seismic Disasters) Initiative to reduce the disasters caused by earthquakes in urban areas.

An international IDNDR symposium on the RADIUS Initiative for Earthquake Safe Cities was held 11-14 October 1999 in Tijuana, Mexico, one of the nine case cities. For RADIUS this was the closing event of the Decade, and participants presented and discussed the results of the case studies, the tools that were developed, the comparative study of urban seismic risks and reports on similar efforts. The symposium was organized by the city of Tijuana, the United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD), United Nations University (UNU) and the IDNDR Secretariat.

Close to 300 experts in various fields took part in the symposium and discussed how to increase the seismic safety of cities. They represented over 50 partner cities, international organizations, and governments, and included government officials, seismologists, geologists, seismic engineers, urban planning specialists, professors and doctors from around the world. Participants maintained a high level of enthusiasm over the four days of the meeting, where they learned about the nine case cities and similar efforts around the world. The tools developed by RADIUS and the result of the comparative study on urban seismic risk were presented and evaluated. Participants agreed that additional steps must be taken to follow up on the nine case cities and the RADIUS network must remain in place. They also proposed that the final report and practical tools developed by RADIUS should be widely disseminated, including a computer-based manual for assessing earthquake damage, so that earthquake-prone cities can learn valuable lessons and apply the RADIUS methodology.

The chief results of the project were the following:

  1. High-risk areas were identified in each city, which also developed an action plan.
  2. The expertise developed during the implementation of the RADIUS initiative can be put to use in future projects, and a practical tool for earthquake damage assessment is available to interested cities worldwide.
  3. A comparative study was carried out regarding seismic risk in urban areas and management practices around the globe.

The nine case cities were Antofagasta, Chile; Guayaquil, Ecuador; Tijuana, Mexico; Bandung, Indonesia; Izmir, Turkey; Skopje, Macedonia; Tashkent, Uzbekistan; Zigong, China; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The RADIUS Final Report and tools will be made available in early 2000 over the Internet. The critical edition of the agenda and the list of participants are available at and at the IDNDR Web site,