South Asia Earthquake 2005: Learning from Previous Earthquake Relief Operations (First Paper)

Beck, T.
Publication language
Date published
01 Sep 2005
Lessons papers
Disasters, Earthquakes
Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Turkey

This briefing paper provides a synthesis of key lessons learned from relief responses to past
earthquakes. The main intended audiences are operational decision-makers and relief programme managers working in the South Asia earthquake relief operation. As agency personnel have expressed a need for clear and concise guidance, this paper aims to provide this, rather than detailed context on earthquakes or the affected region.

This is the first of two briefing papers prepared for the humanitarian and development community by ALNAP ( and the ProVention Consortium ( The second paper, which will be available in November 2005, will focus on lessons learned on recovery from past earthquake operations.

The current South Asia earthquake presents unique challenges, particularly of scale and logistics, but there are generic lessons to be learned from previous earthquakes, particularly those in Afghanistan in 1998, Turkey in 1999, Gujarat in 2001 and Bam in 2003. This paper aims to provide a distillation of this learning.