Christchurch, Chile, Haiti. Pakistan and Nepal. All have shared the devastating effects of earthquakes as a result of being located in the Ring of Fire – that band of tectonic plate movement and volcanic activity that circles the globe. In the past, the rush to rebuild caused many to forget important lessons relating to earthquake protection. However world wide there is now an awareness of the need to build stronger, resilient structures to withstand earthquakes. In New Zealand, since the Christchurch shakes, there has been an urgency in most towns and cities to strengthen and renovate older buildings to new earthquake safety standards.
In Pakistan, building engineers are implementing new home grown safety measures, such as the installation of locally made, wooden reinforced bracing for clay brick houses. This reinforcing placed in each corner of a house, together with strengthened roofing, increases the structural integrity of village houses and should prevent collapse in an earthquake. University student teams are being trained to introduce these safer building practices in certain vulnerable regions of Pakistan.
Earthquakes in the Ring of Fire will never cease but building standards are improving to ensure that structures endure to a greater level thus saving lives.