Tags: Haiti | quake | damage | US

U.S. Teaches Haitians to Assess Quake Damage

Tuesday, 09 Mar 2010 09:21 AM

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti - Hector Marie Suze and her family have bunked on a bare lot with 22 other families since the Jan. 12 earthquake here toppled two interior walls and big patches of ceiling plaster in her home.

The building appears inhabitable, but Suze still refuses to sleep indoors because she is afraid the continuing aftershocks will finish the job.

"I want a specialist to come and say, officially, that I can come in," said Suze, 47.

Help is on the way. U.S. structural engineers, including earthquake specialists from California, are putting their Haitian counterparts through a crash course on how to assess earthquake damage and determine whether a property is safe to live in.

The immediate goal is to get thousands of displaced residents to move back into houses that are livable, relieving pressure on the 300-plus impromptu encampments before the impending spring rains. An untold number of people are living in tents or under tarps even though their homes suffered relatively light damage.

"Many people are not going inside because no one has done damage assessment," said H. Kit Miyamoto, a private Los Angeles-based earthquake engineer who was recruited to train Haitian officials by the Pan American Development Foundation in Washington.

To read full Los Angeles Times story — Go Here Now.

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Tuesday, 09 Mar 2010 09:21 AM
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