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QLARM, a tool for earthquake loss estimate in near real-time and scenario mode

QLARM (Quake Loss Assessment for Response and Mitigation) is a computer code with world data sets of population and building stock that calculates losses (building damage, injured, and fatalities) due to strong shaking in earthquakes. The population data are unique, containing 2013 data on approximately 2 million settlements (name, coordinates, population). For 47 large cities, detailed models by district are used. The data on buildings follows the information of the World Housing Encyclopedia augmented by our own research.

Earthquake loss alerts are issued within 30 minutes (median) of potentially damaging earthquakes worldwide in collaboration with the Swiss Seismological Service. The alerts are distributed by email with maps of mean damage. By special request, alerts can be issued by SMS, and again by special request, in the case of severe events, telephone evaluation of the probable situation can be arranged for emergency first responders within a few hours of the event occurring.

More than 1,000 alerts have been issued since fall 2002. Shorthand versions of the alerts are distributed by Twitter with links to the full information on the ICES Foundation website. When the earthquake parameters issued by international organizations differ, the alerts convey the worst-case scenario.

QLARM can also be used to estimate losses for potential future earthquakes. Any professional is welcome to make use of this capability for research in collaboration with ICES Foundation staff. Countries that wish to implement QLARM for their nation and desire to transfer ICES expert knowledge to their local experts may have possibilities to apply for joint funding with the ICES Foundation to achieve such projects.

Numerous articles published by QLARM operators on the functioning of this tool, on implications of error sources, and on successes and failures of loss estimates are available. General topics relating to earthquake risk can be found here on the ICES website.

Go here to suscribe to QLARM alerts

Donations are welcome for keeping this service going, which is unique outside the USA.