Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Aftermath in China

The figures are astounding - about 900 children may be buried in one school - included are a middle school and a three-storeyed high school building. The questions have begun to emerge for me:

What were the school building codes like?

How soon after the first jolt did the school buildings collapse?

How knowledgeable were adminstrators, students and teachers about the risks and vulnerability of the area to earthquakes?

What did engineers, geologist an hazard managers know about these vulnerabilities?

What did decisionmakers and other community leaders know about the risks?

Did the schools have plans in the event of such disaster events?

What was the pupil-teacher ratio?

Were drills, simulations ever conducted?

What kinds of safety policies and procedures were in place to protect teachers and students for this eventuality?

How should the education sytem respond and how quickly can they return these schools to normalcy?

Did anyone walk out of these schools alive and how were they able to do that?

Were there adequate emergency exits in the building?

Should we re-think building heights for schools? or other buidlings of mass occupancy?

How do we prepare schools for these future eventualities?

Answers to these would not only help China but the rest of the world in better preparing schools for disaster events and reducing the vulnerabilities to these disasters.

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