California-based disaster risk management company Miyamoto International has opened an office in Bogotá to increase its presence within Colombia’s earthquake and catastrophe preparedness industry.
The 70-year-old firm, which has its headquarters in West Sacramento, has previously maintained a project in the western Colombian city of Pasto. From here, Miyamoto has run a training and consulting initiative called PREPARE to assist local first responders, including firefighters and public emergency management officials, better prepare for earthquakes.
Following its experience in Pasto, the company has opted to open its first South American office in the Colombian capital, which will be led by Juan M. Sandoval Leal, a Bogotá-based engineer. Geotechnical engineer Jaime Eraso has been overseeing the PREPARE program.
Miyamoto specializes in engineering and retrofitting buildings to better withstand seismic activity. It also supplies disaster risk consulting and has collaborated on various projects across the world with the United Nations and United States Agency for International Development (USAID), among other international organizations.
“In areas of high seismic vulnerability like Los Angeles and Bogotá, we can engineer buildings that perform much better very cost effectively,” said Kit Miyamoto, the company’s CEO. “If you follow the minimum code, it essentially gives you a ‘one earthquake’ building. We can design buildings to remain operational after the event.”
The company’s location in the Colombian capital will be its third office in Latin America and the Caribbean. Miyamoto already operates in San José, Costa Rica, and Pétion Ville, Haiti. Worldwide, the company now has 19 locations, clustered mainly in areas with high earthquake risk, including California, Japan, and New Zealand.