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Juan Carlos Reyes, director of Cimoc in Colombia: "In order to create successful exhibition models, we need the collaboration of everyone and an entity that is capable of channeling the work of researchers".

As part of his visit, the academic commented on the Colombian experience and highlighted the role played by expert voices on the subject in order to create the most complete exposure model possible.

During his visit to Santiago, the director of the Materials and Civil Works Research Center (CIMOC) of the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogota, Juan Carlos Reyes, Ph.D., carried out several activities in which he learned about the efforts being made to create exposure models.

As part of his agenda, the civil engineer gave a talk on the Colombian exposure model, framed in the cycle of talks that Itrend will hold on threat and risk models, and in which he referred to the guidelines that must be taken into account for their creation, in addition to the commitments acquired by each of the participants in the work.

Here is the interview with the professional: 

Doctor, tell us what is an exposure model? 

-In simple terms, it is a table that contains values of a relationship, in this case properties or blocks that a territory has with its characteristics depending on the hazard being evaluated. In the seismic case it is very important to know the structural system of the house, also if it has or not a seismic design, the number of floors, human exposure, economic, among others; and if it is another threat the characteristics are different.

So that you can imagine it could be an Excel where each row has a block or property and each column has its respective characteristics. These can be obtained in different ways; for example, in the economic area, the information is compiled through the Cadastral Census of Colombia, which is used to determine the taxes to be paid by the people.

What is the relationship between hazards and risk?

-Threats and risks are interrelated issues: Threat is considered an input, while risk is an output that results from the integration of threats, exposure and vulnerability. 

Threat and vulnerability are parameters that have been studied extensively in each country, where historical information is available, but when linked to exposure it becomes more complex, because there are no in-depth studies of the latter. 

Juan Carlos de la Llera, Catalina Undurraga, Juan Carlos Reyes and Marcela Angulo

What are the must-haves when building an exhibition model?

In Colombia, for the seismic model, we worked at the level of blocks or blocks as they call it in Chile, and we must also know the characteristics of the structures present, such as the number of floors, materiality of constructions, structural systems, etc. However, it is very difficult to obtain exact information for each of the properties that make up the block, but rather, a distribution of the characteristics mentioned above, such as the probability that there are 10-story concrete buildings.

Regarding the human aspect, it is necessary to know how many people spend the night in a certain house, how many people work in an office building, so as to know the loss of human lives, because earthquakes that occur during the night have more victims than those that occur during the day. 

Finally, there is the economic area, which serves to know how much the houses or buildings cost in order to calculate what would be spent to repair or rebuild. 

How did the need to create this type of model in Colombia arise? Was it because of a particular event or to prevent possible catastrophes?

-It was born because Colombia, like Chile, is a seismic country, where disasters have occurred with significant losses in human lives, economic and operational capacity of cities. It should be considered that most Colombians live in sectors with medium or high risk of earthquakes, which is the root of the need to create exposure models. 

There are already volcanic risk models, but these are concentrated around a point that we know exactly which is the volcano, while the seismic risk is distributed throughout the territory so it makes it a bit special and difficult to treat in the same way, so that made it a priority.

How do you see Chile in terms of seismic management?

- For us Chile is a reference in seismic engineering, both at South American and Latin American level; they have a great development in standards, in seismic culture, that makes us have an admiration for the work they have, this happens because they are a country with one of the highest seismic threats in the world if not the highest, so its development in the field we must always keep in mind. 

How was the call for participation made to researchers? How many people or institutions worked in the creation of the seismic risk model? How did the work go?

-Before 2018-2019, which was the first time I heard about the development of this unified model, there had been isolated attempts and in specific sectors those that could not be replicated, it was also attempted that a single entity would be in charge of making this model, so that it could then be replicated throughout the country, something that was going to take years. 

That is why I highlight the leadership of the Colombian Geological Survey, which took the initiative and responsibility to search for criteria, create models with objectives and standards, many of them failed, until reaching the one that is currently being worked on. Then the search for allies began and found in the Colombian Association of Engineering Faculties (ACOFI) who began to make calls to universities to create collaboration agreements, which were decanting depending on the experience of each professional and area in which he/she worked, until reaching the professionals who are working on the model that should be delivered soon. 

What stands out most about the work?

-I emphasize that we worked under a common objective, which is the development of the country, we respected the different opinions and we valued each other as professionals and as people, that was the key for this work to be successful.

Any advice for the creation of the Chilean showroom model

-I believe that the most important advice is that the strategy that works here is alliance, collaboration, professionalism, relationships, recognition of the other, of their capabilities, knowledge, I believe that this is key for these processes to be successful. If you do not have the recognition of the other, you lose key actors who can contribute to nurture the model.