This manuscript sets out a process for estimating fatalities in collapsed buildings due to ground shaking in an earthquake. The aim of this research is to supplement current earthquake loss estimation with fatality rates (percentage of occupants killed) for use in models which are based on recent empirical information on deaths from earthquakes. This document specifically explores the lethality potential to occupants of collapsed structures. Whilst earthquake casualty modeling has admittedly suffered from a lack of post-earthquake collection of data and rigour in assessing these data, recent earthquakes such as 2008 Wenchuan (China) and 2011 Christchurch (New Zealand) have brought to light some important findings. Under the auspices of US Geological Survey's PAGER, empirical fatality data related to collapses of buildings from significant earthquakes in the past 40 years have been thoroughly examined. Through detailed investigations of fatal building collapses and the volume reductions within these buildings, important clues related to the lethality potential of different failure mechanisms of global modern and older construction types were found. The gathered evidence forms the basis of the derivation of a set of fatality rates for use in loss models. The set of judgment-based rates are for 31 global building types. This significant advancement in casualty modeling, the resolutions and quality of available data, the important assumptions made, and the final derivation of fatality rates are discussed here. This document contributes to global efforts to develop a way of estimating probable earthquake fatalities very rapidly after an earthquake has taken place. The fatality rates proposed here can be incorporated directly into earthquake loss estimation models where fatalities are derived from collapses of different types of buildings.
Assessment of human casualties in earthquakes has become a topic of vital importance for national and urban authorities responsible for emergency provision, for the development of mitigation strategies and for the development of adequate insurance schemes. In the last few
years important work has been carried out on a number of recent events (including earthquakes in Kocaeli, Turkey 1999, Niigata Japan, 2004, Sichuan, China 2008 and L'Aquila,Italy 2009). These events have created new and detailed casualty data, which has not until now been properly assembled and evaluated.
This book draws the new evidence from recent events together with existing knowledge. It summarises current trends in the understanding of the factors influencing the numbers and types of casualties in earthquakes; it offers methods to incorporate this understanding into the estimation of losses in future events in different parts of the world; it discusses ways in which pre-event mitigation activity and post-event emergency management can reduce the toll of casualties in future events; and it identifies future research needs.