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NSF RAPID Project in Haiti

Posted in Announcements

Team of Ten surveys buildings in Port-au-Prince and environs and collects dimension data to find simple parameter to rank buildings in vulnerability.

NSF RAPID AWARD: Professors Ayhan Irfanoglu (Purdue University), Santiago Pujol (Purdue), Marc Eberhard (University of Washington in Seattle) and Adolfo Matamoros (University of Kansas) received an NSF RAPID award to re-visit Haiti for updates and are serving as co-PIs of the project.

A team of ten-including Irfanoglu, Pujol, Professor Bob Lyon (University of Kansas), four CE/Structures graduate students, two students from the University of Washington in Seattle and a graduate student from the University of Kansas--traveled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti on June 25 where they will work through July 3. 'We are surveying buildings and collecting dimension data--mostly in Port-au-Prince and environs-- to see if we can find a simple parameter to rank buildings in vulnerability,' said Irfanoglu.

'The buildings and city still looks like a disaster area, although things feel 1,000 times better than what I experienced back in March,' he said. 'The streets appear to be less hectic, airport is more orderly, traffic is better, but I doubt if life is any easier for the Haitian folks. Major collapses have been removed, but you may not be able to tell the difference. The city still looks like a major disaster area. Heaps--and sometimes, hills--of debris are still around. (Side note:it costs about $70 to get rid of a truckload of debris these days). For Haitians, the earthquake disaster of January 12, 2010 is still very much on-going. Plenty of tent cities.

'We hooked up with two Haitian student's - State University of Haiti CE alumni'— who will start at Purdue University in August for their graduate degrees, thanks to Professor Eric Calais and scholarships from a cell phone company here in Haiti. This is an amazing experience for the students — and for us faculty, too.

'In Leogane (epicenter region), the destruction is heavier than Port-au-Prince. There has been significant progress in cleanup and even reconstruction'— they simply cannot wait for someone else to build for them. So far, the team has documented more than 50 buildings (as of June 29).' Check out Ayhan's blog for updates, NEEScomm Blog