Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Preliminary Mosque Survey

One of the main objectives of this internship, following the work done in the class last Spring, is to investigate a number of mosques for their adequacy as vertical evacuation structures. As you can see in the booklet (link) created by the retrofit team, mosques are great options for evacuation, but they are certainly not guaranteed to be safe during the earthquake and tsunami without further investigation and possibly retrofit, both structural and non-structural.

The first step was to identify about 10 mosques from Google Earth that looked decent for evacuation based on their distance from the coast, the flow depth at the site based on the Last Mile inundation map (link), the population density in the region, and Andi’s knowledge of the mosque’s height, quality, and any other useful information (the benefits of working with a local). After compiling this information during a long afternoon in the Construction Clinic, we chose 8 mosques to visit.

One of the students who finished undergraduate study in Civil Engineering at Andalas University, and now attends Bandung Institute of Technology, Anggun, was able to accompany Andi, Lucy and I in the investigation. We drove (yes, not angkots this time) to four mosques in one afternoon to speak with many of the mosque managers and briefly survey the size and height of the mosque that seemed plausible from our Google viewing. Four days later, we went to three more mosques somewhat near the coast to accomplish the same tasks. We even stopped by an extra one because we ran into it on the way (shows the proliferation of mosques in the city).

Through our investigation (see some photos here, here, and here), we were able to identify 3 mosques that we will investigate further to be used as vertical evacuation structures based on their size and height. We will need to dig deeper in order to find out how much steel is in the members and the quality of the concrete to make our own structural drawings for analysis. Also, most need better access, especially to the roof, in order to be plausible and that is something we will discuss with the owners and mosque managers when we return.

We plan to analyze two mosques while still in Padang with the Andalas students, or at least get the process well-started so they can continue for their class in September and proceed with more mosques that we investigate. This can be a relatively quick, effective, and economical way to prepare some of the communities in Padang, and with more involvement, it can become scalable as well.

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