Earthquakes do not kill people, buildings do – Dr Biggs
The workshop points at strengthening existing cross-disciplinary and multinational collaboration on seismic risk research.
Dr Juliet Biggs, one of the organizers explained that the aim of the project is to increase resilience of the Malawian communities during the earthquake scare.
“We are doing this by understanding the earth quake better and understanding the styles of building in Malawi and coming up with local solutions to reduce the vulnerability to earthquakes,” she said.
In his remarks before declaring the workshop officially opened, the Surveyor General from the Department of Surveys in the Ministry of Lands and housing, Julius Chisi described the workshop significant because Malawi lies in the rift valley where earthquakes happen once in a while.
“As a ministry, we are appreciative for the workshop which has brought experts from outside and within the country to help in coming up with expertise on how the country can survive earthquakes,” Chisi said.
He further said that after the Karonga 2009 earthquake the Malawi government has put in place safe construction guidelines and regulations to guide people in the construction of strong and safe houses.
The Pro Vice Chancellor of the UNIMA Professor Alfred Mtenje described this workshop as very important for the Universities in Malawi and the growth of knowledge for the country.
“This kind of research is important because it brings opportunity for researchers to investigate the kind of hazards, risks that we face and also the kind of preparedness that we need to make in order for us to mitigate those hazards and risks,” Mtenje explained.
One of the participants, Maryking Mwinuka a lecturer of Geography at the Chancellor College explained that the workshop would help them come up with ways of dealing with natural disaster.
The workshop commenced on 5th up to 9th August. Also in attendance were the Principal of the Polytechnic, Professor Grant Kululanga, international delegates and other senior members of staff.