Local Government Profile
Hazard and vulnerability profile
Being one of the key urban centers of the Middle East, Amman, the capital of Jordan has managed to grow into a mega city over the past 100 years. The population of the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) is now 1000 times the population it used to be in 1909 when the first municipal council in Amman was established. Because of these recent and dramatic changes, past disasters cannot be used to assess the impact of the next destructive earthquake on modern Amman. A large earthquake today will affect not only a much larger urban population, but also completely different urban construction, (e.g., midland
high-rise buildings) and complex infrastructure system that enables every-day life.
Located on the itinerary of the Great Dead Sea Rift Valley, Amman demonstrates a topographical drama by definition. The Dead Sea Rift Valley, which extends the whole length of the country and defines its western border, is the single most important geological feature of seismic significance within Jordan.
Amman had been last drastically damaged by a destructive earthquake on the 11 July 1927, at 15:04. The epicenter of the (ML = 6.3) earthquake which startled the residents of the Jordan-Palestine area was estimated to be in Jordan Valley, in the vicinity of the present Damya bridge. While that earthquake resulted in 342 deaths, damages and casualties in Amman itself were minor. This is the strongest earthquake in Amman in recent history.
Disaster Risk Reduction Activities
Accelerated Urban Growth & Disaster
When rapidly growing cities like Amman are located in earthquake prone areas, this directly contributes to a rapid increase in the number of people exposed to the hazard. Amman population growth has been a major driver for the rapid expansion of the megacity and the growth of informal housing quarters that are highly vulnerable to natural disasters. There is an obvious and almost overwhelming urban risk problem in the city of Amman where many buildings have been erected without seismic resistant construction techniques.
Amman Metropolitan Area (AMA) which includes the cities of Amman, Zarqa, Ruseifa and surrounding areas, accounts for more than 50% of Jordan’s population, contains about 80% of the country’s industrial sector and provides employment for about 55% of the nation’s inhabitants. When rapidly growing cities like Amman are located in earthquake prone areas, this directly contributes to a rapid increase in the number of people exposed to the hazard. Amman population growth has been a major driver for the rapid expansion of the mega-city and the growth of informal housing quarters that are highly vulnerable to natural disasters. There is an obvious and almost overwhelming urban risk problem in the city of Amman where many buildings have been erected without seismic resistant construction techniques.
Steps towards disaster risk preparedness
The Greater Amman Municipality is currently engaged in some encouraging disaster preparedness work at the municipal level but this has not really influenced preparedness and mitigation activities within the Governorates. GAM’s program will complement a previous interventions including Support to Building National Capacities for Earthquake Risk Reduction at Amman Municipality in Jordan which aimed to establish an integrated disaster risk management process, which equipped the city of Amman with a Disaster Risk Management Master Plan (DRMMP) that is anchored in a sound institutional framework and was based on the risk profile of the city.
A DRMMP framework of Amman was developed and nationally endorsed in March 2009 and provides a set of goals, polices and recommendations intended to eventually equip GAM and other relevant national institutions with a disaster risk management practice that conforms to the international standards in the field. The DRMMP Framework was also grounded in the outputs of the earthquake risk assessment study undertaken for Greater Amman late 2008.
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