Human response to natural hazards has been a subject of intense investigation and study for a long time. These hazards have proved the most difficult enemy of mankind and are able to cause destruction on a large scale close to human settlements. The ability of natural hazards to cause destruction is partly due to lack of preparedness of human beings to mitigate the effects of these hazards. Different natural hazards include hurricanes, floods, tornados, typhoons, famine, fires, landslides and earthquakes. Of all these hazards, earthquakes are different in that their onset on human development originates below ground surface and man is always taken aback by their unwarned and unnoticed arrival. This unique characteristic has made the earthquakes the most lethal and deadliest natural hazard that have caused devastation in terms of high number of human loss, and wide spread building and infrastructure failures and sufferings.
Many areas of Pakistan lie in seismic risk zones. The available statistics indicate that some of the greatest earthquakes in the world with magnitude greater than 8.0 occurred in a short span of 50 years in the Indian Subcontinent. The devastations made first by the Quetta earthquake of magnitude 7.5 (which killed as many as 25,000 people in 1935) and recently by the Kashmir earthquake of magnitude 7.6 (which killed 73,000 people in 2005) can never be forgotten by the Pakistani nation. In particular, the Kashmir earthquake once again revealed, more clearly than ever, lack of capacity and preparedness in Pakistan to deal with a disaster. Dealing with this challenge requires that skilled professionals, who are trained in various aspects of earthquake mitigation, are developed. The Department of Earthquake Engineering at NED University of Engineering and Technology has taken up the task of training the professionals to enable them to serve the society through better planning and preparation.
The Department offers graduate study programmes in Earthquake Engineering so as to educate our next generation of engineers and researchers in methods of designing and building safer and economical earthquake resistant built environment. The courses in these programmes are designed to suit the needs of professional engineers working in the construction industry as well as to strengthen already existing research activities in the area of earthquake engineering and related disciplines. These research activities are at the core of the Department. We also provide funding opportunities to graduate students to conduct research leading to Masters and PhD degrees. I would encourage young researchers to visit the website of the Department to learn more on these opportunities and on the work we are doing. It is my belief that we can make a change in the society working together.
Prof. Muhammad Masood Rafi