Keywords: Hurricane Katrina. Lifelines. Engineered structures. Wind loads. Storm surges. Debris. Damage. Multidisciplinary approach. Extreme events. Response efforts. Recovery efforts. Multi-hazard perspectives. Reconnaissance efforts. Damage mitigation. Disaster resilient communities.
Abstract: Hurricane Katrina caused significant damage to engineered infrastructure including levees, commercial and public buildings, roads and bridges, utility distribution systems for electric power and water, waste water collection facilities and vital communication networks. Damage to critical infrastructure such as hospitals and communication systems crippled the affected communities, and more importantly, the response and recovery efforts following the hurricane. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the important question now is: How can we better prepare ourselves to prevent or minimize the level of damage and the subsequent catastrophe in the next extreme event? A multidisciplinary team of investigators from the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER), headquartered at the University at Buffalo, conducted post-disaster field reconnaissance to examine the impact of Hurricane Katrina on physical engineered systems and the response and recovery efforts that followed. Their objectives were to examine wind, storm surge and debris damage from a multi-hazard perspective. Implications of lessons learned from this reconnaissance effort are being examined to mitigate damage and improve response and recovery efforts not only from future hurricanes, but also from other extreme events such as earthquakes or terrorist attacks. By collecting this multi-hazard information, MCEER is seeking to develop engineering design strategies and organizational strategies that will make communities more resilient against any extreme event.