On the 29 January 2014 Palestine adopted its first ever Seismic Building Code, in conjunction with the Urban Planning and Disaster Risk Reduction Centre (UPDRRC) at An-Najah National University (ANU), the Palestinian Engineers Association and relevant authorities in Palestine. In a collaborative effort, supported by EU partners, Palestine’s new code will ensure future buildings are both sustainable and safe.
Based on the Jordanian requirements, the Code will mean that all future building projects will have to adhere to strict earthquake proof design. While this may seem an unnecessary step, during Palestine’s 1927 earthquake 500 people were killed and there was widespread damage. As the cities of Palestine have undergone urban growth, so have the dangers of any future earthquakes causing widespread damage and loss of life. In October last year Palestine was subjected to several tremors over a week, raising the spectra of future seismic activity, and raising the necessity of the Code.
The work has not stopped there. As the focus now moves to implementation, Dr. Jalal Dabbeek and his team at ANU, along with the Engineers Association, have ensured Palestine has an expert cadre of engineers ready to work within the requirements. Meanwhile, the related governmental and non-governmental organisations are now working towards agreeing on a mechanism for inspection and compliance.
1. Seismic Building Code Requirements in Palestine were adopted on 29 January 2014, by the Engineers Association of Palestine.
2. The code is based on the Jordanian seismic building code and was adopted by signing a memorandum of understanding between the Palestinian Engineer’s Association, the Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Planning and Administrative Development and the Ministry of Public Works and Housing.
3. The code was supported by the Office of the Prime Minister, Palestine.
4. The Project formed part of the Support Action for Strengthening Palestinian-administered Areas Capabilities for Seismic Risk Mitigation (SASPARM) project. The Project aims to reinforce cooperation within the EU and internationally regarding earthquake engineering: www.sasparm.ps
5. The SASPARM Project is funded by the European Commission, within Seven Framework Programme (FP7), and it is supported by the European Centre for Training and Research in Earthquake Engineering (EUCENTRE) and Institute for Advanced Study (IUSS) of Pavia in Italy.
6. Training programs conducted by UPDRRC team of staff and volunteers, led by Dr. Jalal Dabbeek, have covered Palestinian Engineers, municipal workers, students and teachers. Programs were also tailored for the Higher Council for Civil Defense and its workers and volunteers. This was combined with a public awareness campaign.
7. Dr. Jalal Dabbeek is Director of the Urban Planning and Disaster Risk Reduction Centre (UPDRRC) and Coordinator of the Scientific Centre’s at An-Najah National University, Nablus.