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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/Y000900/1
Title: Seismic Resilience of Egypt's Built Environment: A GIS-Based Framework for Assessment and Mitigation (Egypt-SeReAM)
Principal Investigator: Elkady, Dr A
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Alexandria University Cairo University Nat Res Inst of Astro & Geophysics NRIAG
Department: Sch of Engineering
Organisation: University of Southampton
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 February 2024 Ends: 31 January 2026 Value (£): 133,510
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Structural Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
02 May 2023 ODA ECR International Collaboration Grants Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Natural disasters can have dire effects on countries, in the form of human casualties/injuries, infrastructure damage, economic and environmental losses. Earthquakes, in particular, are the most damaging as they are responsible for an annual death toll of over 20K and 20% of the total annual economic losses due to natural disasters. In low-income or developing countries, earthquake impacts are exacerbated, leading to substantial human loss, injuries, homelessness, and population displacement. Irreparable infrastructure damage can also have a great economic impact reaching 20% of a country's gross domestic income, leading to disruption of economic growth and development.

Acknowledging this problem, there has been growing national interest in assessing regional seismic risk and loss for major cities. Several countries initiated Disaster Risk Management (DRM) programs which make use of the interdisciplinary advances in science and technology to model the complex interaction of hazard, exposure, and vulnerability and compute loss metrics that can be used by stakeholders and decision-makers to quantify of potential structural, economic, and social consequences, identify critical infrastructure components, outline pre-disaster damage mitigation measures and policies, and planning for post-disaster response protocols.

Egypt, a lower-income country and one of Africa's most populated countries, is highly susceptible to the impacts of natural hazards (flooding, rising sea levels, and earthquakes). Several major cities, with populations larger than 5M and overly populated urban centers, are subject to high seismic risk triggered by risk drives such as poverty, climate change, decades of poor construction practices, and absence of municipal oversight. Countries with similar urban conditions, such as Albania and Turkey, experienced a wide extent of damage and losses from recent earthquakes. These countries, and others, allocate extensive funding and resources for DRM. On the other hand, the safety and robustness of Egypt's infrastructure is greatly under-researched. Although several studies investigated the seismic hazard for Egypt's major cities, no attention has been paid so far to either collapse risk assessment or loss and damage estimations (urban exposure, vulnerabilities, and resilience).

Egypt-SeReAM will build on and further develop existing DRM methodologies to create such a digital framework for assessing the seismic resilience of Egypt's vulnerable built environment. A partnership between the University of Southampton, three of Egypt's top academic and research institutions will undertake this project combining different disciplines spanning urban planning, seismology, and structural engineering. The project will use the city of Alexandria as a pilot case study to establish the building blocks of the DRM framework concerned with built-environment resilience. The seismic vulnerability of Alexandria's urban center will be assessed, in terms of human, structural, and economic losses due to potential damage to the residential building stock. In the process, spatial urban, geotechnical, structural, and hazard data will be collected and an automated digital framework will be developed to quantify risk and loss under potential earthquake scenarios. The project will employ the geographic information system (GIS) mapping system to describe and communicate the earthquake consequences to the government, academia, industry, and public sectors. This will be packaged within an easily-to-use practice-oriented digital workflow that will assist authorities in making effective decisions for seismic protection measures to minimize potential damage and losses (primarily human, but financial as well) in future earthquakes. Through networking, training, and showcasing activities, the project will promote and specifically target Egypt's short- and long-term resilience to natural disasters, in support of its economic development.

Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.soton.ac.uk