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MCEER Researchers Investigate Structural Damage and 
Emergency Response in Wake of World Trade Center Attacks

photo by M. Bruneau

MCEER researchers visited the site of the World Trade Center disaster to inspect the damage and collect perishable data.

MCEER has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) award to investigate damage to engineered structures and response of medical and emergency operations following the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centers. The award is one of eight announced by NSF. Studies involve: 

Researchers are seeking to gain a better understanding of damage that occurred and demands that were placed on hospital and government emergency response systems immediately following the disaster. 

Data will be used to help improve the strength and performance of buildings and other structures during natural and other disasters, and to improve the nation's response to such threats. 

Four researchers, Michel Bruneau, Andrei Reinhorn and Andrew Whittaker, all of the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering at the University at Buffalo, and Kathleen Tierney, Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware, visited the World Trade Center site on September 21 and 23 to inspect the damage and collect perishable data. The UB group has since presented several seminars at the University at Buffalo, including one to students who will be involved in research related to the disaster and to members of the Buffalo Chapter of ASCE (see Seminar Review: Structural Engineering Reconnaissance at WTC).

Researchers from MCEER are participating in the upcoming NSF-sponsored workshop for grantees, organized by Dr. Rae Zimmerman of New York University on December 12-13, 2001 in New York City. MCEER is also planning to organize two back-to-back workshops next spring that will concentrate on progress made on World Trade Center-related studies. The MCEER workshops will focus on post-disaster emergency management and terrorism resistant civil engineering design. 

The NSF's Directorate for Engineering has set up a website for information regarding the World Trade Center disaster. The site includes a list of awards, press releases, notes, and quotes, and can be accessed at

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