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Earthquake engineers release report on damage in Haiti
Date:2/22/2010

f downtown Port-au-Prince found that 28 percent had collapsed and a third would require repairs. A survey of 52 buildings in nearby Logne found that more than 90 percent had either collapsed or will require repairs.

"A lot of the damaged structures will have to be destroyed," Eberhard commented. "It's not just 100 buildings or 1,000 buildings. It's a huge number of buildings, which I can't even estimate."

Many people asked team members to inspect buildings where the occupants were camped outside because they feared a collapse.

"There's an enormous amount of fear," Eberhard said. "People may see cracks in their houses. A large part of what we were doing was identifying what was serious damage versus what was cosmetic damage."

"Probably the most satisfying thing we did was to walk through the building and get people back inside."

Eberhard traveled into Port-au-Prince on a military airplane on Jan. 26. He and other team members camped in front of the U.S. embassy during the weeklong trip.

The group kept a blog of the trip at http://neescomm.blogspot.com/. Eberhard says he omitted some of the most disturbing images because members of his daughter's 2nd-grade class were reading the posts.

This is not the first such assignment for Eberhard, who did reconnaissance after major earthquakes in California, Seattle, Taiwan and Costa Rica. But he says this was the most difficult on a personal level.

"Usually when I go to earthquakes I find that the amount of damage is less than what appears on the television," Eberhard said. "In this case it was much more."

"The main reason for the difference is that usually when you see earthquake coverage the cameras will focus on one place that's really damaged, and you don't realize that around it there are plenty of things that are just fine. In this case, the cameras focused on one place that's really damaged, but because the cameras have a limited field of v
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Contact: Hannah Hickey
hickeyh@uw.edu
206-543-2580
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert  

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