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ES 27:S1 (Oct 2011) The 2010 Haiti Earthquake

Guest edited by Reginald DesRoches of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Mary Comerio of the University of California, Berkeley. This 507-page special issue on the devastating Mw 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on 12 January 2010, begins with an introductory article that provides an overview of the historical, seismological, geotechnical, structural, lifeline-related, and socioeconomic factors that contributed to the catastrophe, as well as the many challenges that must be overcome to enable Haiti to recover. Detailed analyses of these issues are presented in the subsequent 23 papers, divided into four major topics: (1) seismology and geotechnical aspects, (2) damage assessment, (3) buildings and infrastructure, and (4) social impacts.

Never before has an earthquake so devastated not only the physical infrastructure, but also the institutions and government of a country. This disaster, perhaps more than any other in recent history, illustrated the role of social vulnerability in a natural disaster. However, one year after the earthquake there are hopeful signs of coordination between the Haitian government, NGOs, and religious organizations, and progress is being made. Haiti’s long-term recovery depends on providing basic services that require a functioning government public sector. Among the major tasks still to be accomplished for a safe and sustainable recovery are issues of debris removal and reuse, building material quality, building construction guidelines and enforcement, restrictions on zoning, resolution of land tenure issues, and planning for the location of lifeline buildings and infrastructure. Building capacity at all levels—technical, institutional, and governmental—will be required to put Haiti on a new path of economic growth and social justice.

This special issue provides crucial information for the diverse professions engaged in earthquake loss reduction—civil, geotechnical, mechanical, and structural engineers; earth scientists; architects; city planners; emergency responders; public officials; social scientists; and researchers. Publication was supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency/U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery; the U.S. Geological Survey of the U.S. Department of the Interior; and the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility. ISBN 978-1-932884-51-7.

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