Professor Reginald DesRoches To Lead EERI Team In Haiti

A multi-disciplinary team of US earthquake researchers and practitioners, organized by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), is traveling to Haiti to document scientific, engineering and societal effects resulting from the devastating January 12 earthquake in Haiti.The research team is under the leadership of Reginald DesRoches, Professor and Associate Chair of the School of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, a native of Haiti and a current EERI Board member, and includes experts in engineering, urban planning, architecture, geography and community resilience.

The team departs on February 28, 2010 and will spend six days collecting data and documenting observations, paying particular attention to the disaster’s impacts on people, the performance of structures and lifelines, and the enormous societal challenges of relief, recovery and rebuilding. Team members will meet with local Haitian engineers, architects and planners, as well as Haitian government officials and business leaders that will lead the nation’s reconstruction.

The enormity of the earthquake presents serious challenges for Haiti's infrastructure, economy, and society. Estimates suggest more than 212,000 people died, 250,000 were critically injured and more than one million Haitians were made homeless. The EERI and the U.S. Geological Society organized an advance reconnaissance team that visited Haiti in late January. Their trip report, including findings, is available on EERI's Haiti Virtual Clearinghouse Web site.

For more than thirty years, EERI has managed a National Science Foundation sponsored project called Learning from Earthquakes. EERI has sent researchers to investigate all damaging across the world. The research teams have brought back valuable observations that hold lessons for U.S. and international engineering practitioners and researchers as they strive to reduce earthquake hazards. After the Haiti team returns, their findings will be published and briefings will be made to researchers, practitioners and decision makers.

The scale of this disaster is so large that many organizations will be working together in conducting reconnaissance. The Learning from Earthquakes team will be joined by representatives from partnering organizations who are all traveling under Professor DesRoches’ leadership.

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities and the eighth best engineering and information technology university in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, Georgia Tech’s more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.