Given the high seismicity in South-Eastern Europe, and Greece in particular, which corresponds to more than 80% of the seismic energy released at the European level, and the significant direct and indirect cost of damage and loss associated with a major earthquake, the development of methods and tools for the mitigation of earthquake loss is of paramount importance.
This is a complex, essentially stochastic problem, not only due to the inherent probabilistic nature of earthquake itself, but also due to the complexity of modern multi-layered economy and social life, facts that render it difficult to assess in advance, quantify, manage and finally minimize the potential earthquake-induced consequences. For this reason, during the last decade, significant research effort has been made worldwide towards the development of a methodology to predict the expected earthquake losses, inclusive of structural and non-structural damage, human loss, infrastructure service disruption and indirect socio-economic cost, as a means to minimize what is called Seismic Risk, i.e., the overall Risk to elements of given Seismic Vulnerability that are exposed to certain levels of Seismic Hazard.
A large number of the so-called fragility curves relating the probabilistic vulnerability of specific structural systems to seismic intensity is currently available both in Europe and the US, primarily for buildings but also for bridges (Moschonas et al., 2009; Kwon & Elnashai, 2006), some of them additionally considering soil-structure interaction effects (Aygun et al., 2010), surface fault rupture and pre-earthquake strengthening (Kim & Shinozuka, 2004; Pinto & Mancini, 2008; Padgett & DesRoches, 2008, 2009).
Numerous earthquake loss scenarios have also been developed for many European cities (Bard et al.1995; Barbat et al.,1996; D’Ayala et al. 1996; Dolce et al. 2003, 2004; Faccioli et al. 1999; Kappos et al. 2002, 2008), all of them focusing solely on the expected loss due to building damage. In contrast to the research work on the vulnerability of buildings and bridges, significantly fewer developments have been achieved on
- (a) predicting the physical vulnerability of lifelines and infrastructures, including the roadway and railway networks, and
- (b) estimating the interdependent behaviour of buildings, lifelines and infrastructures at a system level. Given the fact that potential failure of lifelines and infrastructure may have a tremendous financial impact (i.e., Northridge, US 1994; Kobe, Japan, 1995; Kocaeli, Turkey, 1999; Chile (Maule) 2010; Christchurch, New Zealand, 2010; Fukushima, Japan, 2011), all developed societies are increasingly less tolerant to the large associated economic loss, especially during the particular period of economic instability.
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