Following a damaging earthquake, the immediate emergency response is focused on individual collapsed buildings or other “hotspots” rather than the overall state of damage. This lack of attention to the global damage condition of the affected region can lead to the reporting of misinformation and generate confusion, causing difficulties when attempting to determine the level of post-disaster resources required. A pre-planned building damage survey based on the transect method is recommended as a simple tool to generate an estimate of the overall level of building damage in a city or region. A methodology for such a transect survey is suggested, and an example of a similar survey conducted in Christchurch, New Zealand, following the 22 February 2011 earthquake is presented. The transect was found to give suitably accurate estimates of building damage at a time when information was keenly sought by government authorities and the general public.

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