Engineering a Safer Future

“This is the best thing that we can do for Haiti, to start educating the architects and engineers about the fundamental notions of earthquake engineering so that they can avoid past mistakes.”
André Filiatrault
MCEER director and professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering

On Jan. 12, 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, toppling homes, offices, restaurants and even the country’s National Palace. Government estimates of the death toll were terrifying: more than 300,000 lives lost.

Substandard construction was a major reason for the scale of destruction.

To address the problem, MCEER, UB’s Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research, began partnering with Université Quisqueya in Haiti to plan a series of professional development seminars on designing buildings to withstand earthquakes.

The classes debuted in May 2010, with instructors including Pierre Fouché, a Haitian native and UB doctoral candidate in earthquake engineering, and his mentor, André Filiatrault, MCEER director and UB professor.

So far, more than 500 Haitian architects and engineers have attended, including several dozen from Haiti’s Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communication.

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