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MCEER/UB Sign International Education MOU with the University of Quisqueya in Port-au-Prince

MCEER is continuing its efforts to aid the nation of Haiti following the devastating January 12 earthquake. Subsequent to its leadership of the United Nations’ Initial Emergency Engineering Support Unit to assess the safety of critical buildings following the earthquake, MCEER, together with the University at Buffalo (UB) Office of International Education, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Quisqueya (UniQ) in Port-au-Prince.

Giving Haiti's Engineers the Tools to Rebuild

The MOU serves as a formal mechanism to provide immediate training in ATC-20 rapid building assessment procedures and earthquake engineering fundamentals, with the first seminar scheduled in mid-May. The group will also develop longer-term educational programs on seismic design of buildings with a focus on adapted techniques for reconstruction, and promote academic exchange and cooperation over the next three years.

“During our initial building assessment effort in Haiti, it was clear that there was a long-term need to continue assessments of perhaps 100,000 buildings damaged and left standing in the Port-au-Prince region,” said Andre Filiatrault, MCEER Director.

“We felt that this monumental need could only be addressed by training and unleashing a large force of Haitian engineers to conduct such inspections over the next several months.”

Introducing Standards into Building Design and Assessment in Haiti

The first activity planned under the MOU is an educational seminar on earthquake engineering, to be held May 20-22, 2010 in Port-au-Prince. The target audiences for this first seminar are practicing engineers, graduate students and senior undergraduate students. All materials and instruction will be provided in French, and there is no charge to attend the seminar.

Four specific topics will be addressed: 1) Introduction to Seismology and Seismicity of Haiti, 2) Introduction to Earthquake-Resistant Design Principles, 3) Introduction to Earthquake-Resistant Construction for Haiti, and 4) Overview of the ATC-20 Rapid Building Assessment Methodology.

Following the first day of classroom instruction, participants will conduct on-site building assessments based on the ATC-20 methodology under the supervision of the two MCEER instructors. The third day will be dedicated to reviewing the topics taught on the first day and the building assessments conducted on the second day.

The instructors are Pierre Fouché, doctoral student and Fulbright Scholar from Haiti who is studying earthquake engineering at the University at Buffalo, and Andre Filiatrault, Professor of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering at UB and MCEER Director.