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Last Updated:18/03/2016

UEVRP - Urban Earthquake Vulnerability Reduction Project

The Disaster Risk Management Programme
The Disaster Risk Management Programme

The Gol - UNDP Disaster Risk Management Programme is a National initiative to reduce vulnerabilities of communities in some of the most hazard prone districts ( 169 districts in 17 states ) of India . The programme (2002-2007) aims to contribute to the social and economic development goals of the National and State Governments , enable them to minimize losses to development gains and by reducing their vulnerability to natural disaster.The programme relies upon a community based approach to disaster preparedness and management and seeks to build capacities , government functionaries at all the leveld\s and other stake holders in disaster management in an organized manner. The Ministry of Home Affairs (the nodal Ministry for disaster management in the country)is the executing agency for the programme with UNDP country office support for implementation. 

UEVR Programme - Background

        Earthquake is a natural event which may cause tremendous loss of life and property damage. One of the major challenges facing our  country is to reduce the vulnerability to this uncontrollable and unpredictable hazard by having a greater understanding about its causes and effects. As per the latest seismic zoning map of India brought by the Bureau of Indian standards, over 65% land area of the country is prone to seismic intensity of MSK VII or more during damaging earthquakes.  Some of the most intensive earthquakes of the world have occurred in India, but fortunately, none of these have occurred in the vicinity of the major cities . India has highly populous cities including the National Capital of New Delhi , located in zones of high seismic risk Typically majority of the constructions in these cities are not earthquake resistant . Thus any earthquake striking in one of these cities would turn into a major disaster.It is most important in the medium and long term to formulate strategies to reduce the vulnerability to and losses arising from a possible earthquake striking any of these cities . Six significant earthquakes have struck different parts of India over a span of last 15 years. Five of them occurred in rural or semi urban areas and hence the damage in terms of human lives and property were relatively small. On the other hand , the 2001 Bhuj earthquake struck both rural and urban areas and reiterated the scale of vulnerability . If any of these earthquakes  strike the populous urban centers, the damage would be colossal. 

The Programme

     The programme envisages  strengthening capacities of communities , urban local bodies and the administration in mitigation , preparedness and response in 38 cities of the country having population above half a million and falling under seismic zones III , IV and V, The programme would demonstrate a suitable model for mainstreaming of earthquake  risk management initiatives at all the levels and help reduce seismic risk in most earthquake -prone urban areas in India. Learning from this initiative will feed in to the National capacity building programme of the GOI and help mainstream training in earthquake disaster management in the regular training programmes of the Government. 

Goal:Sustainable reduction in earthquake risk in the most earthquake - prone urban areas across the country.

Objectives of the programme

  • Create awareness among Government functionaries, technical institutions NGOs, CBOs and communities about earthquake vulnerability mitigation measures.
  • Institutionalize earthquake preparedness and response plans and practice these through mock drills .
  • Develop regulatory framework (tecno- legal regime ) to promote safe construction and systems to ensure compliance.
  • Capacity building for certification by the Government functionaries and the professionals (engineers and architects).
  • Networking knowledge on best practices and tools  for effective earthquake risk management including creation of information systems containing inventory of resources for emergency operations. 


  • Capacity building in earthquake risk management at National , State , City (Ward / Community) levels, including strengthening of key resource institutions and establishing of linkages .
  • Formation of disaster Management terms at city level along with sectoral preparedness plan for all nodal agencies in the Urban Local Body of each city .
  • Earthquake preparedness and response plan for 38 cities across the country
  • An aware and informed community.
  • Integration of seismic risk management into development programmes .
  • Enhanced capacity of engineers/ architects  & training/ academic/resource institutions .
  • Review of enforcement mechanisms for the byelaws etc.
  • Knowledge networking and inter- city cooperation on earthquake  vulnerability reduction initiatives
  • Availability of experience for replication of the programme to other Urban centers beyond the 38 cities/ Towns identified in this programme. 


Terms Used In Disaster Management:


The resources of communties to cope with a threat or resist the imapct of the harazd.


Risk: The Probabilty/likelihood of disaster happening.


Vulnerability:  The degree to which communities are susceptible to loss,damage, suffering and death, in disaster.(also    nature of   bulding,types,ages etc.)


Hazard: The physical event that can potenially triggger a disaster.Such a phyiscal event in itself need not necessaily result in disaster.


Disaster Proneness: Likeihood of location being affected by disaster.


Earthquake: Shaking of the Earth caused by a sudden movement of rock beneath its surface. (USGS National Earthquake Information Center, 1999)

The release of stored elastic energy caused by sudden fracture and movement of rocks inside the Earth. Part of the energy released produces seismic waves, like P, S, and surface waves, that travel outward in all directions from the point of initial rupture. These waves shake the ground as they pass by. An earthquake is felt if the shaking is strong enough to cause ground accelerations exceeding approximately 1.0 centimeter/second squared. (Noson, et.al., 1988


Epicenter: That point on the Earth's surface directly above the hypocenter of an earthquake. (USGS National Earthquake Information Center, 1999) The location on the surface of the Earth directly above the focus, or place where an earthquake originates. An earthquake caused by a fault that offsets features on the Earth's surface may have an epicenter that does not lie on the trace of that fault on the surface. This occurs if the fault plane is not vertical and the earthquake occurs below the Earth's surface. (Noson, et.al., 1988)


Fault A break in the Earth along which movement occurs. Sudden movement along a fault produces earthquakes. Slow movement produces aseismic creep. (Noson, et.al., 1988)


Focus: That point within the Earth from which originates the first motion of an earthquake and its elastic waves. (USGS National Earthquake Information Center, 1999)


Intensity: A measure of severity of shaking at a particular site. It is usually estimated from descriptions of damage to buildings and terrain. The intensity is often greatest near the earthquake epicenter. Today, the Modified Mercalli Scale is commonly used to rank the intensity from I to XII according to the kind and amount of damage produced. Before 1931 earthquake intensities were often reported using the Rossi-Forel scale. (Noson, et.al., 1988)

A measure of the effects of an earthquake at a particular place on humans, structures and (or) the land itself. The intensity at a point depends not only upon the strength of the earthquake (magnitude) but also upon the distance from the earthquake to the opint and the local geology at that point. (USGS National Earthquake Information Center, 1999)



A quantity characteristic of the total energy released by an earthquake, as contrasted with intensity, which describes its effects at a particular place. A number of earthquake magnitude scales exist, including local (or Richter) magnitude, body wave magnitude, surface wave magnitude, moment magnitude, and coda magnitude. As a general rule, an increase of one magnitude unit corresponds to ten times greater ground motion, an increase of two magnitude units corresponds to 100 times greater ground motion, and so on in a logarithmic series. Commonly, earthquakes are recorded with magnitudes from 0 to 8, although occasionally large ones (M=9) and very small ones (M= -1 or -2) are also recorded. Nearby earthquakes with magnitudes as small as 2 to 3 are frequently felt. The actual ground motion for, say, a magnitude 5 earthquake is about 0.04 millimeters at a distance of 100 kilometers from the epicenter; it is 1.1 millimeters at a distance of 10 kilometers from the epicenter. (Noson, et.al., 1988)

A numerical expression of the amount of energy released by an earthquake, determined by measuring earthquake waves on standardized recording instruments (seismographs). The number scale for magnitudes is logarithmic rather than arithmetic; therefore, deflections on a seismograph for a magnitude 5 earthquake, for example, are 10 times greater than those for a magnitude 4 earthquake, 100 times greater than for a magnitude 3 earthquake, and so on. (Foxworthy and Hill, 1982)


Richter Magnitude Scale The Richter magnitude scale was developed in 1935 by Charles F. Richter of the California Institute of Technology as a mathematical device to compare the size of earthquakes. The magnitude of an earthquake is determined from the logarithm of the amplitude of waves recorded by seismographs. Adjustments are included for the variation in the distance between the various seismographs and the epicenter of the earthquakes. On the Richter Scale, magnitude is expressed in whole numbers and decimal fractions. For example, a magnitude 5.3 might be computed for a moderate earthquake, and a strong earthquake might be rated as magnitude 6.3. Because of the logarithmic basis of the scale, each whole number increase in magnitude represents a tenfold increase in measured amplitude; as an estimate of energy, each whole number step in the magnitude scale corresponds to the release of about 31 times more energy than the amount associated with the preceding whole number value. (USGS National Earthquake Information Center, 1998)