Quake expert shares lessons from China


A Sacramento structural engineer who went to China's devastated Sichuan Province spoke to Berkeley professors Friday about lessons from the quake.

Structural engineer Kit Miyamoto went to China at the request of some clients to check their buildings, but he saw much more than that and brought back a lesson for his colleagues.

"Technically speaking, we did not learn anything new. These are lessons learned over and over again," said Miyamoto.

Miyamoto says un-reinforced concrete and bricks are to blame for the destruction.

The death toll stands at 68,000, with nearly 19,000 still missing. Nearly 7,000 schools collapsed.

"…Made of concrete floor, sit on brick without reinforcement and then, as you know, brick is very weak, so if there's seismic shaking coming through, bricks fails, concrete floor come down and i just can't imagine the horrors the kids felt because there was no chance of escape," said Miyamoto.

So he says the lesson is to apply what we already know.

"We need to do risk-management. We need to do seismic upgrades of the buildings, critical buildings, hospitals and schools, not only in China but everywhere," said Miyamoto.

"Are we really not caught up in the US?" asked ABC7's Heather Ishimaru.

"That's correct. Even in California many cities are not prepared for the major earthquakes," said Miyamoto.

Miyamoto's colleagues at Berkeley say they are interested in the China quake because the fault is similar to our Hayward fault.

"Since we don't get magnitude 7.9 in California very often it's important we learn what happened," said Yousef Bozorgnia, a UC Berkeley earthquake engineer.

"Structural engineers, it's our responsibility, to make sure the world is safe. It's our responsibility. We know how to do it and we speak out and we got to do it," said Miyamoto.

Berkeley engineers hope to be on their way to China in a couple weeks.

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