South Asia Earthquake 2005: Learning from previous earthquake relief operations

This paper provides a synthesis of key lessons learned from relief responses to past earthquakes. The October 2005 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 distils this learning rather than providing detailed context on earthquakes or on the affected region. The main intended audiences are operational decision-makers and relief programme managers working in the South Asia earthquake relief operation.