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UK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

PREPARE: Enhancing PREParedness for East African Countries through Seismic Resilience Engineering

Disclaimer: The data for this page has been produced from IATI data published by UK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Please contact them (Show Email Address) if you have any questions about their data.

Project Data Last Updated: 27/08/2020

IATI Identifier: GB-GOV-13-FUND--GCRF-EP_P028233_1


PREPARE develops a holistic seismic risk management framework for East Africa and co-produces practical tools and guidelines for enhanced disaster preparedness in close partnerships with local governmental and academic institutions. It aims at overcoming existing barriers to designing seismically resilient infrastructure in least developed countries using advanced risk assessments and suitable low-cost engineering solutions. The first case study focuses on Malawi and then extends to other East African countries. PREPARE is problem-led; actual needs have been identified and informed by local partners. The proposal spans the Schools of Engineering and Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol and Cardiff University, with project partners in Malawi and other East African countries. A major goal of this proposal is to communicate and transfer the body of research to local beneficiaries, allowing for community-based emergency responses and ensuring documentable impacts. PREPARE is composed of four work packages (WPs): WP1 - Development of integrated seismic impact assessment tools for Malawi; WP2 - Tectonic investigations of strain accumulation and release in the Malawi Rift system; WP3 - Seismic vulnerability assessment of Malawian masonry buildings; and WP4 - Expansion of the framework to other East African countries. The aims of WP1 are: to implement a comprehensive earthquake risk impact assessment methodology, with versatile capabilities to update the hazard, exposure, and vulnerability modules, to extend the method by accounting for other earthquake-induced hazards, such as liquefaction and landslide; and to produce seismic hazard-risk outcomes in the form of hazard-risk maps, site-specific seismic design spectra, and seismic design guidelines. The main goal of WP2 is to provide more accurate information regarding the potential earthquake rupture characteristics of the fault systems in Malawi (i.e. location, length and recurrence interval of large earthquakes). The results will be integrated into WP1. WP2-1 will focus on updating the fault map of Malawi, studying how fault segments interact and their relationship to geological fabrics. WP2-2 will focus on mapping the strain using satellite- and ground-based geodetic methods to identify which structures are active and the rate and depth of strain accumulation across them. The main goal of WP3 is to evaluate the seismic vulnerability of Malawian buildings through numerical analyses, supported by experimental data. In WP3-1, surveys will be conducted to gather building information in Malawi. WP3-2 will focus on testing of local bricks and brick wall structures in Malawi, whereas WP3-3 will focus on developing numerical models of typical masonry buildings in Malawi and corresponding seismic fragility models for assessing the earthquake risk (WP1). The primary goals of WP4 are to develop a strain-based seismic hazard model for East Africa, which is quite innovative, and to carry out seismic hazard-risk assessments for East African countries (using the updated tools from WP1).


The Sendai Framework by UNISDR (http://www.unisdr.org/we/coordinate/sendai-framework) identified an urgent need for the concerted global effort by academics, practitioners, and governments to reduce the disaster risk by understanding the complex interplay of hazard, exposure, and vulnerability. In particular, it highlighted the importance of disaster preparedness, instead of post-disaster management, for future catastrophic events by promoting the Build Back Better principle and by implementing robust risk management strategies. An accurate hazard-risk assessment tool is essential to achieve such goals. PREPARE (Enhancing PREParedness for East African Countries through Seismic Resilience Engineering) tackles the global challenge of improving the earthquake disaster preparedness for East African communities by developing integrated earthquake impact assessment tools in close partnerships with local governmental and academic institutions. It addresses the key scientific challenges in characterising the earthquake rupture potential in the East African Rift zone and applies advanced seismic resilience engineering methods to evaluate seismic vulnerability of unreinforced masonry structures in East Africa (both experimentally and numerically) and to develop effective low-cost solutions for enhanced community resilience. The PREPARE team, consisting of researchers from the Universities of Bristol and Cardiff, is truly multidisciplinary and brings in a unique set of expertise and skills in earthquake, geotechnical, infrastructure engineering, engineering seismology, geodesy, and geology. Through collaboration with local partners, PREPARE will transform novel scientific results into practical guidelines and outputs to achieve improved seismic risk reduction. Specifically, the research objectives of PREPARE are fivefold: (1) to develop integrated seismic risk assessment tools for East African countries. The tools treat alternative hypotheses and uncertainties associated with hazard, exposure, and vulnerability components comprehensively and consistently; (2) to co-produce a variety of seismic hazard-risk maps and seismic design guidelines in close collaboration with local governmental and academic partners. As part of co-production, bilateral visits of researchers and staff are arranged to consolidate long-term relationships; (3) to improve the knowledge on tectonic behaviour of major fault systems in East Africa by gathering new field data (geology and GPS) and by analysing the regional seismicity data. The new findings will be used to update the fault-based seismic hazard model; (4) to develop bespoke seismic vulnerability models of unreinforced masonry (brick) constructions in East Africa through an extensive experimental programme (i.e. material testing of local bricks and pull-over testing of real-scale brick walls) and advanced structural modelling; and (5) to investigate the effectiveness of low-cost engineering solutions to improve the seismic resilience of the buildings and infrastructure in East Africa. The main deliverables of the project are: (i) integrated seismic risk assessment tools (e.g. seismic hazard maps and modern design guidelines) for East African countries; (ii) consolidated partnerships with local institutions in East Africa; (iii) improved knowledge of the tectonic processes in the East Africa Rift; and (iv) state-of-the-art seismic vulnerability models of unreinforced masonry structures in East Africa. The results will be disseminated through a number of means, including co-organised workshops and training sessions in Malawi, joint geophysical fieldwork, joint structural testing, and high-impact journal papers.

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Sectors groups as a percentage of country budgets according to the Development Assistance Committee's classifications.


A comparison across six financial years of forecast spend and the total amount of money spent on the project to date.

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