Category Archives: NEWS – NOTICIAS


 In a few days the Mexican Federation of Associations of Civil Engineers [FEMCIC – Federación Mexicana de Colegios de Ingenieros Civiles] will convene its first national conference in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

The event will take place this coming March 1-3, 2012 and it will be hosted by the association local chapter – Colegio de Ingenieros Civiles del Municipio de Solidaridad representing the municipality of Solidaridad, and presided by Jaime Juarez Tellez. The focal theme of this first conference will be Engineering toward Civil Protection!

The conference will bring together engineers from throughout Mexico, as well as representatives from the architectural profession, emergency managers, academics and researchers, NGOs and also policy-makers and elected officials. The choice of Playa del Carmen, seat of the municipality of Solidaridad is both quite symbolic and on target, given its tradition of strong civil defense and pro-mitigation policies as well as its location on the Caribbean coastline of Quintana Roo, the most hurricane-vulnerable state in Mexico.

The conference highlight will be the inauguration ceremony and general session of participants on Friday 2 March, which will include remarks by the Municipal President on the State Law for Civil Protection, presentations by José Loria, Dean of the School of Engineering at the Autonomous University of Yucatan, by Octavio Albores a practicing engineer, and by Ricardo A. Alvarez, of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies, who will deliver the keynote thematic presentation on the topic of Characterization of Impact and Site: Practical Tools for Hurricane Resistant Design.

With this upcoming conference Mexico and Quintana Roo in particular, will take a significant step toward a much needed collaboration and synergy between the engineering and building-design sectors, with emergency management, education and research, and with policy-makers. It is hoped this will set a strong foundation for future collaboration between the various sectors, and an example to be followed by other communities both in Mexico and abroad.

Book Announcement!

Front cover of the book Paraiso Protegido by Ricardo A. Alvarez

I am happy to announce the upcoming publication of my book Paraiso Protegido: Hacia una cultura de mitigación, now in press at M.A. Porrúa Publishers in Mexico, which is being co-edited jointly with M.A. Porrúa Publishers and Grupo Quintana Roo.

This work distils empirical knowledge acquired throughout years of studying the impacts of natural hazards, tropical cyclones in particular, upon vulnerable communities and the sequel of damage and human suffering caused by the same. It also offers practical solutions for reducing the potential for damage from the inevitable impacts or recurring hazards.

Specifically, this book gathers lessons from the impacts of hurricanes in Quintana Roo, Mexico, such as hurricane Gilbert (1988) and hurricane Wilma (2005), which at some point reached category 5 strength causing tremendous damage to the region of Cancun, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres and the Mayan Riviera. Paraiso Protegido is partially based on field work and an impact assessment I directed at the request of Quintana Roo state authorities, shortly after hurricane Wilma’s attack in 2005.

An important contributor to my decision to write this book were my conversations with the president of Grupo Quintana Roo, an organization that represents a leading sector of private business in Quintana Roo state, which made me realize the great need that there is for additional knowledge about the vulnerability of the place, how to manage the risk that it faces, as well as on alternatives for effective solutions to protect human activity and the urban environment, and the considerable investment of effort and capital that it represents.

Although the lessons shared and the examples of impacts and damage are based on events in Quintana Roo, I am convinced that the knowledge and solutions being offered in this book will benefit the many, in other countries, who because of their professions and activities have an interest in risk management, vulnerability assessment and especially in natural hazard mitigation in their respective communities.

Paraiso Protegido is being published in Spanish, but I am happy to announce that work toward a future English edition, which may include a digital version, is already in progress. I am committed to keeping you all informed about how these projects are progressing through postings on this site !

You can reserve your copy of Paraiso Protegido by stating your interest and requesting information via email to:

Back cover of book