Original Research

Impact of retrofitting work on vulnerability reduction of local buildings in Kabul, Afghanistan

Mohsen Mohammadi, Toshio Fujimi
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 13, No 1 | a1062 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v13i1.1062 | © 2021 Mohsen Mohammadi, Toshio Fujimi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 October 2020 | Published: 24 June 2021

About the author(s)

Mohsen Mohammadi, Department of Advanced Industrial Science, Graduate School of Science and Technology, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, Japan
Toshio Fujimi, Department of Advanced Industrial Science, Graduate School of Science and Technology, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, Japan

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Rapid urbanisation of Afghan cities without proper construction regulation has exposed their population to a high risk of damage from disasters such as earthquakes. With the growing construction of local non-engineered buildings and an existing level of hazard of 0.8 g, a high risk of casualties and building damage threatens Kabul in the event of a disaster. This study reports and evaluates a recent retrofitting project in Kabul City by ‘Project for City Resilience’, carried out under the supervision of the United Nation Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) for 48 retrofitted sun-dried clay brick masonry buildings in Kabul. The project was executed by local masons and welders who were trained as a part of the project, and the main tasks included installation of an additional steel frame, additional reinforced concrete foundation ring, ceiling replacement and wall strengthening (via mesh and plaster). After a visual assessment of retrofitted buildings considering the original retrofitting design and actual work done, a vulnerability index for retrofitted buildings was developed based on a behaviour modifier factor, which was assigned to each retrofitting activity using a combination of values and a proportion of scores for each retrofitting activity. The results indicate that training of local masons and welders to undertake retrofitting activities could decrease the damage ratio by 15% – 20% for peak ground acceleration values of 0.3 g and higher. The methods mentioned in this study can be used to make existing sun-dried clay brick masonry buildings sufficiently resistant to earthquakes of moderate-to-severe intensity.


retrofitting; non-engineered buildings; training; local masons; Kabul; damage ratio; behaviour modifier factor; vulnerability index.


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