EVALUATION OF STRUCTURES POST EARTHQUAKE
In 2010 Haiti experienced an earthquake of 7.0 magnitude with an epicenter near the town of Leogane on the southern peninsula. At least 52 aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 or greater were measured within 12 days of the initial earthquake. Due to the poor infrastructure and lack of building codes or enforcement of any building standards, many lives were lost and many more were directly affected.
The Colorado Haiti Project is an organization based in Louisville, Colorado and has been working in a specific location of Haiti since 1989. The partnership is with the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti and more specifically, St. Paul's campus in Petit Trou de Nippes. The campus is located about 70 miles west of the epicenter of the earthquake. Although the effect of the earthquake on the campus was not catastrophic, some damage was sustained to each of the buildings. The Colorado Haiti Project was in need of structural engineering expertise to evaluate the campus's buildings and provide honest structural feedback to the population.
At the time we arrived on campus, everyone was sleeping outside in tents and they were not comfortable with entering the buildings. We conducted thorough inspections of the damage to each of the buildings in conformance with the methods developed by the Applied Technology Council and the ATC-20 documents. This is a widely recognized method of evaluating structures for safety soon after they have sustained damage due to a natural disaster or other means.
We classified each of the buildings on site and continued working with the Colorado Haiti Project through 2014 serving on the board of directors for 2 years. Work to improve the safety of building occupants, building construction, and code enforcement is ongoing all across the country.