Experiences and results of participatory workshop on seismic risk reduction in the student population of the City of Lima-Peru

Sandra Santa-Cruz, Graciela Fernandez de Córdova , Miryam Rivera Holguin, Marta Vilela Lucía Bracco , Victor Arana , and Juan Palomino, Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (Charlotte, NC): Experiences and results of participatory workshop on seismic risk reduction in the student population of the City of Lima-Peru

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Scientific research, experimental development and technological innovation are creating solutions to improve living conditions. However, these solutions have failed to solve the problem of the most vulnerable people, who still live with conditions that reduce their possibility for development. The International Federation of the Red Crescent Red Cross (IFRC, 2008) estimates that in the last thirty years, about four million people in Latin America and the Caribbean have been affected every year by disasters and material losses are approaching $ 3.2 trillion. Disasters not only generate material and human losses, but break the social fabric which affects its normal operation.

The experiences of disasters in Peru highlight the precarious and marked social exclusion, i.e. people living in poverty and extreme poverty (Rivera et al, 2014). A notable case is that of the student population of public school. Their situation is unsustainable due to significant factors of seismic risk at different scales (student-teacher, building, school, district and city level)

Large proportion of public schools in the capital of Peru, Lima, is located in areas of expansion of the city. These areas were originated from an informal pattern since 1950s. Therefore, they do not have infrastructure nor public spaces with optimum conditions for habitability. The situation of these buildings is highly risky. 92% of school buildings lack modern earthquake resistant structures and does not provide adequate criteria for the protection of the lives of the students and for the continuity of classes conditions. (Santa Cruz, 2013)

In this paper, the challenge of establishing corrective measures for risk reduction arises. While there are efforts from different disciplines to address this challenge, they are not integrated nor disseminated to respond in an organized and systematic way to the needs of the student population. This problem becomes a challenge because of the great amount of population at risk, the lack of capacity to attend all simultaneously and the requirement of a trans-disciplinary approach.

This raises the need of models and new trans-disciplinary processes that lead to optimal strategies for risk reduction in student population These products, which we call social innovations (Murray et al 2010), are obtained from the work in a participatory manner involving different sectors involved at all stages of the project.

In this paper, experiences and results-oriented exchange of experiences and knowledge on the topic of risk management, with particular attention to the school population in public schools in the City of Lima workshop are presented. The main objective is to raise awareness of the possible consequences of earthquakes on school population and find alternative solutions in a participatory way for decision-making in risk management. Among those attending the workshop, were officials from various offices of the Ministry of Education, Regional Education Manager Lima and researchers in psychology, architecture and civil engineering.

The workshop consisted of forums for discussion and group work. The first session consisted in developing a risk diagnosis by identifying the main seismic risk factors to consider in Disaster Risk Management. In the second session, we sought to raise an attempt methodology that can be useful for appropriate strategy to reduce risk.

As a result of group work some important conclusions are reached such as: (1) the need for immediate participatory action for a significant percentage of school buildings at high risk, (2) the generation of tools to facilitate the formulation and approval of budgets for structural reinforcement and building capacities, (3) programming comprehensive risk reduction interventions in physical-structural, legal and organizational aspects in the medium and long term, and (4) the need for the territorial approach and the use of geographic information systems, GIS, tools for the identification of urban risk factors and the spatial visualization of vulnerabilities and capacities that are vital for planning and emergency response.

IFRC (2008). Plan Interamericano 2007 – 2011.(in Spanish)
Rivera, M. Velazquez , T. and Morote R. (2014) Participación y fortalecimiento comunitario en un contexto posterremoto en Chincha, Perú. Revista Psicoperspectivas Vol 13 No.2 pp 144-155 (in Spanish)
Santa Cruz (2013) Report: 70244-0034 Evaluación Probabilistica del riesgo seismico de escuelas y hospitales de la ciudad de Lima. Componente 2: Evaluación probabilista del riesgo sei­smico de locales escolares en la ciudad de Lima Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. ( in spanish)
Murray, Robin, Calulier-Grice, J. and Mulgan, G. (2010) The Open Book of Social Innovation The Young Foundation.

Additional Materials:
Attribution: Dr. Sandra Santa Cruz and GERDIS research group (from Catholic University of Peru, PUCP)
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