Bonjou de Ayiti. We are back in Haiti! Yesterday (25 June 2010), a team of 10 of us from Purdue, U Kansas, and U Washington in Seattle arrived in Port-au-Prince to inspect buildings and collect data.
Compared to early March 2010, life on the street appears to be less hectic -airport is more orderly; traffic is better with much fewer "international"s. But I doubt if life is any easier for the Haitian folks. Major collapses (not common folks') have been removed but if you have not been here soon after the earthquake you may not be able tell that the difference. The city still looks like a major disaster area. Heaps --and sometimes, hills-- of debris are still around. (Side info: president of a church in Delmas 103 area told us that it cost about $70 to get rid of a truck-load of debris these days.) In summary: for Haitians, the earthquake disaster of 12 January 2010 is still very much on-going.
While driving around the city we did not see any new housing construction for the folks who lost their homes.
On the technical side: we inspected and took measurements from about 15 buildings. The group split into four smaller teams but stayed together to sweep survey school complexes and other buildings we can inspect quickly. We have Roby and Steeve --two recent CE graduates of State University of Haiti; fantastically helpful guys; they are heading to Purdue for grad school-- and Val --a smart Haitian youngster who has one more year to study to get his high-school diploma; being the sole survivor from his family, he scrambling to live in his tent while dreaming of getting his degree and going to language school to improve his English. Of course everything costs money which Val does not have --Haiti is not cheap, particularly if you are Haitian. And we have Patrick --a recent Purdue CE/Structures alumnus working at a micro-finance organization in Port-au-Prince since March; a very nice fellow with amazing spirit for experience!
Tomorrow we will continue our survey in Port-au-Prince. On Monday we plan to drive to Leogane --epicenter region-- to see if there is anything left there to inspect.
Expect updates. Until then, orevwa.