Rescue Operations in Catastrophic Earthquakes

Athens, Greece
12/11/1990 to 14/11/1990
International Seminar on

Rescue Operations in Catastrophic Earthquakes


The topics presented during this International Seminar concerned applied methodologies on Rescue Operations. The Seminar was the first of its kind worldwide. The invited speakers either originated from earthquake inflicted countries of the last decade (Mexico, Soviet Armenia, Algeria, Iran, USA), or have participated in national missions of rescue operation teams providing assistance in inflicted countries.

The topics examined at the Seminar were the following:

  • the types and quality of buildings,
  • collapse mechanisms,
  • stabilisation and transportation of ruins,
  • the administration of rescue operation at National level,
  • risk and danger of rescue operation,
  • transportation of emergency material,
  • transport and international co-operation.

The participants of this International Seminar reached the following conclusions:

There should be a common European Register of existing agencies and facilities for Rescue Operations. This would be the first step towards an integrated response, drawing upon the individual expertise of each country.

This could lead to a European group for the study of disasters, which would:

  • liaise with UNDRO (United Nations Disaster Relief Organization ) within the International Decade for Natural Hazard Reduction
  • promote the study of and research into disaster preparedness and response
  • disseminate the knowledge that each country has acquired
  • promote training in disaster preparedness
  • set common standards

At the end of this International Seminar, a 223-page Volume of Proceedings was issued with the following contents:

  1. Organisational and Technical solution on restoration of collapsed settlements. Methods of utilization of damaged constructions.
  2. Modes of structural damage and collapse after the 1980 earthquake of El Asnam.
  3. Geotechnical and structural failures due to the Northern Iran Earthquake of June 21, 1990.
  4. Search and Rescue Methods for trapped people - facilities and rescue team equipment.
  5. Our experience and organisation of Disaster Medicine in earthquakes.
  6. Disaster Medicine on Rescue Operations.
  7. Emergency Health Services during the 1985 Mexico City earthquake.
  8. “South Manchester Accident Rescue Team” at the earthquake in Armenia and most recently in Iran.
  9. A rapid deployment hospital - The Israeli aid to the Armenian Republic after the earthquake in December 1988.
  10. Organisation of medical aid after the Armenian earthquake consequences on site.
  11. Equipment and intervention of Rescue Team.
  12. Urban Search and Rescue facilities and equipment.
  13. National Rescue Operations Management in the United States of America.
  14. The role of Seismology in rescue operation management in Israel.
  15. An overview on the development of the OFDA (Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance) urban search and rescue response capabilities.