Monday, March 8, 2010

Back at home. Return trip (PAP-Miami-Charlotte-Indy) was long but alright. Looking forward to visit Haiti again very soon. There is a lot more to see and, more importantly, to do on the ground.
Special thanks are due Prof. Reginald DesRoches (Georgia Tech). He has been a great recon team leader. I wished he could now rest a little bit. But not yet. First a short report and then a longer and more detailed one will be coming out in the next few weeks to a month or two. Distilling the observations from this long and extensive reconnaissance is no easy task. Godspeed to him!

I would like to end by expressing my gratitude to Professor Amr El-Nashai (UIUC), Jean-Robert Michaud (Boeing), Anna Lang (UCSD), and, especially, Amanda Lewis (UIUC) for making this trip as fruitful as it has been for me. They have been great company.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

3/5 - Friday It turned out to be a very productive day. Took measurements from nine buildings; mostly from the Delmas St Louis de Gonzague boys' school complex. Damage varied between full-story collapse (see photo) to none. The stronger motion appears to have been in the approximately north-south direction.

In the afternoon, drove westward to Carrefour and Mariani. Carrefour municipality compelx has two portions. One portion has partial collapse, the other fared much better. (see photo)

In Mariani district, checked out "do-it-yourself" structures. Column cross-sections are approx. 6-in x 6-in. Cement and steel are expensive, and they seem to go with as little as possible. (forgot to note earlier that the main P-a-P port is owned by a family; they add 75% charge on everything that enters Haiti through the port. 75%!). The tailor seen in the photo is the owner of a damaged DIY structure built by her husband and son.

The day ended with a very nice dinner and great company at the Jadottes.

Packing will be easier. MIA flight is at 1:15PM on Saturday.

Friday, March 5, 2010

3/4 - Thursday. The day started with a breakfast meeting with faculty from the Faculty of Sciences (includes civil engineering) of the State University of Haiti. There is only one state university here and they accept very small number of students; about 20 per year to the Faculty of Sciences. I am told most of the students choose civil or mechanical engineering. It was a most productive meeting. We saw a series of very details map of fault zones (beyond and above what is available online or published so far). Prof. Yves Fritz Joseph, General Director of the National Laboratory for Buildings and Construction (LNBTP) and geotechnical engineering faculty at the SUH, said they will be publishing a new report in a week or so. Had a ~1.5 hr discussion with Profs. Janin Jadotte, Jean Raoul Momplaisir, and Christian Rousseau. We are hoping to collaborate closely. Invited them and their students to join our field investigation. Students are either displaced or staying with their families out of town. School is closed (Faculty of Sciences campus is damaged). They are trying to restart education in May. We asked how we could help. Apparently they are in great need of books (technical and scientific, textbooks). Please send me an email at if you are interested in providing financial support or books. As of now, I do not know how large amounts of books could be shipped to Haiti (cargo lines are used mainly for humanitarian aid).

After the meeting we drove around the Petionville area to find structures with unfinished walls. Stopped at the nursing school of University of Notre Dame (one of three campuses) and checked out two buildings. Measured one. Saw a multi-story new-looking building across a small banana grove. Checked it out and measured. Infill walls at the ground story were damaged. Center-line columns are enlarged. Took measurements. Then on to Digicel complex to measure the structural elements and overall dimensions (see the photo showing series of columns failed in shear).

It was mid-afternoon already. Took measurement from a totaled "do-it-yourself" building (see photo).

The last task was to go to one of the "slum" cities. Incredible amount of destruction. Clean-up crew was hard at work (USAID pays them $5 each and serves two meals a day; that is about four times Haitians earn on average). Most of the crew members are/were living in the area. They also act as the recovery crew (saw two body bags waiting for pick-up). Took lots of panoramic shots.

Tomorrow will be the last day in the field. We are hoping to take measurements in 3-5 buildings (schools, if possible). We are invited to Prof. Jadotte's house in the evening. I will try to post at night/early Saturday morning. If lines are not working, will post after I get back to the States. Flying to Miami on Saturday early afternoon and back in West Lafayette around midnight.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Visited UNDP and UN Annex site first. Top three stories of the 5-story Annex Building had collapsed (see photos). They are going to salvage the remaining stories.

Then, made a quick visit to the Hotel Montana. Recovery operations are ongoing, possibly for another two weeks. Photo shows the shops area of the hotel.

Passed by the recently built U.S. Embassy. Did not try to go in. All looks fine.

In the afternoon, visited the Bureau of Mines and Energy. Had a long and good meeting with the General Director Mr. Dieuseul Anglade, Scientific Advisor Mr. Claude Preptit, and Technical Consultant Mr. Louis Pierre. They are gearing up to work with a French group to develop surface soil maps.

Stopped by Val's tent. He proudly showed his quarters. (see photo)

Surveyed and collected data on a nearby school; 3-story, first story collapsed. RC moment resistant frame with hollow concrete block infills. (see photo)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

03/02 Met with AHEC (Association Haitienne des Entreprises de Construction) folks. Very concerned but calm group of engineers and architects. They asked if faculty from the USA could come and teach earthquake engineering in Haiti, several weeks or a semester at a time.

Photo on the left show "random houses" appearing on government property since mid-1980s.

AHEC folks told us that the building permits used to be issued by the Ministry of Public Works; but since about 2000, municipalities are given the right to issue permits (sounds very familiar). Which one cares about "long term" consequences more? Municipilities or the State?

We visited several hospitals -- difficult places to inspect. If they are in bad shape, not easy to go around and sanitation is an issue. If they are in good shape, there are patients and access is limited.

Checked out couple of hotels (Oasis --under construction-- and Karibe --Union School renovated as hotel three years ago; reinforced concrete block infill walls were added. Damage is mostly limited to infill walls. Saw only one column with captive-column induced shear failure. Not critical.

Weather is hot (30+ degC) and humid (est. 85%).
We took a break at the end of the day and visited the port. Heavy damage all over. US Navy working on the port.

Taptap -- very colorful minibuses adds to the traffic fun. Whenever there is a traffic light, folks obey, most of the time.

Gotta go. We have one line to Internet and several folks waiting in line.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Today, visited all ministries and a few schools. Damage is extensive. Only one ministry complex (Ministry of Youth and Sports) is in good shape. The main building used to be the Hotel Bellevue (const. 1968 est.). The Ministry of Agriculture building (see photo on the left) did not fare well.

Tomorrow, we hope to inspect several hospitals, schools and meet with the board members of the Association of Private Builders.