Earthquake Safe Houses Training for Tsunami Preparedness in West Sumatra

Abstract : Western parts of Sumatra Island has the
potential to hit by big earthquakes that can generate a tsunami. The possible
sources of those big earthquakes are located at the subduction zone about 50 km
westward of Mentawai Island and seabed fault between Mentawai and Sumatra
Island. Since the distance of the sources is not so far, the earthquake may
impact severely on the mainland of Sumatra Island. The shaking may damage the
buildings, including houses on the Sumatra and Mentawai Islands, shortly before
the tsunami comes. Thus, before evacuation from a tsunami, people must first
survive from the earthquake. The worst-case may happen if the
earthquake-triggered tsunami hit in the night where people are gathering at
home. Victims affected by collapsed houses during the earthquake will be unable
to evacuate for a tsunami. Therefore, surviving from the earthquake is an absolute
requirement before saving themselves from the tsunami. It can be done by
building the house or retrofitting the existing houses to be earthquake safer
constructions. Many manual books and guidance that contain methods for
constructing or strengthening houses for earthquake safer construction have
been widely circulated in the community. But in its implementation, the
training is needed. Since many houses must be strengthened, all stakeholders,
including government, experts, ordinary people, and housebuilders should
involve in the process. Above all, the housebuilders are the most important
element in building earthquake safer houses. The housebuilder training,
including all the stakeholders, has been conducted in Pariaman City, West
Sumatra. This paper describes the experiences in conducting and training models
of earthquake safer houses. This model can be replicated in other places,
particularly along the western side of Sumatra Island.