Seismic fragility models for typical non-engineered URM residential buildings in Malawi

Nicola Giordano*, Raffaele De Risi, Elia Voyagaki, Panos Kloukinas, Viviana Novelli, Innocent Kafodya, Ignasio Ngoma, Katsuichiro Goda, John Macdonald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Malawi is an earthquake-prone country that lies within the East African Rift. A large proportion of its population lives in non-engineered single-storey constructions made of clay bricks and low-strength mortar. Walls are typically single-skin and often lack adequate wall-to-wall connections, leaving them vulnerable to seismic actions. This work reports a comprehensive study on the seismic fragility of unreinforced masonry buildings of the Malawi housing stock. The probability of exceeding different levels of in-plane/out-of-plane damage is estimated by considering the aleatory and epistemic uncertainties of the problem. Inter-building and intra27 building variability are accounted for by adopting material test results and building survey data collected in Malawi. The in-plane capacity of building walls is calculated through a finite element model that considers the orthotropic properties of masonry. The out-of-plane capacity is computed using an analytical solution, developed for walls in one way bending. In addition, record-to-record variability is considered. The new country-specific fragility models result more conservative that global estimates, which reflects the high vulnerability of Malawian masonry buildings. These fragilities can be integrated into catastrophe modelling platforms for earthquake risk assessment in Malawi and in the wider East African region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2266-2278
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2021


  • fragility curves
  • earthquake vulnerability
  • Malawi
  • residential buildings
  • unreinforced masonry
  • masonry panel test data
  • orthotropic model
  • in-plane damage
  • out-of-plane damage


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