Haiti eartquake disaster

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by robin bird, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. robin bird

    robin bird Member

    As the toll of yesterdays disaster gets revised it could be 500,000 people that would be 15 of the city i live in. Those of us who can afford to support releif agencies of course should. Does anyone have relatives there and how would or should we react say one hit the west coast in a populated area ?

  2. Chris Crew

    Chris Crew Member

    I'm in Emergency Management

    I'm the Mitigation Section Chief for my state EM Agency.

    Haiti is indeed a terrible blow.

    The best way to help in disasters that you are not already a part of (unless you have certain response skills--search dogs, structural engineer, medic, etc) is to support existing agencies (usually NGO's non-government organizations) such as the Red Cross, Oxfam International (who has a permanent presence in Haiti) or many of the church related organizations. A great one in the US is the Baptist Men. Those guys have field deployable kitchens and supply networks that can serve 3 or 4 thousand meals three times a day for extended periods. You can do a little research on any of the legitimate ones on the web and get an idea of how much of your donation goes to helping out and how much goes to operating expenses.

    To be prepared for a local event, start by contacting your local emergency management agency and learn about the risks in your area and ask about response plans, evacuation plans and shelter plans. Have a plan at home--know how to take shelter and when to bug out. Make a home supply kit with a couple of days worth of non perishable food and a gallon of water per person per day for three or more days. Keep some cash and sturdy, seasonal clothes on hand. If you can't locate your local agency, PM me and I'll see if I can help.

    My home state on the east coast has some risk of earthquake and the pictures from Haiti are instructional. Many of the collapsed buildings look like they are unreinforced masonry structures--about the worst you could have in earthquake country. The commercial districts of the towns and cities in the hazard prone part of my state are generally early-mid 20th century made up of two to three story unreinforced masonry structures.
  3. robin bird

    robin bird Member

    Thank you so much this is invaluable information which i will check out. Amazing how much aid and how much good the U.S. does and it is seldom praised !
  4. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Looking at those pictures from Haiti, I too was struck by the number of collapsed brick buildings, so I did a quick bit of research - it seems that any brick or block bearing wall structure without filled core column and bond beams - which describes just about every brick house and apartment building of three stories or less in height - is at serious risk of literally shaking apart like a house of cards in a moderate to a strong earthquake.

    Heck, I never liked the look of brick, anyway.
  5. ibdennyak

    ibdennyak Guest

    Yep, believe it or not, the mortar is only there to make the masonry units olevel out. /the weight of the structure is what gives it any strength or stability.........until you have an earthquake.

    In defense of the material, any codes that I know of require bond beams and reinforced stuffed cores.
  6. Chris Crew

    Chris Crew Member

    Right---mortor doesn't hold bricks together----it holds them apart.

    Severe structural damage to unreinforced masonry buildings can become evident in seismic events as "small" as a 5.5 on the Richter scale. (really we should measure earthquake energy via ground acceleration in terms of %g, but that is really hard to wrap your head around.)

    Masonry is not all bad---take a look at the before and after pictures of the "Palace" notice that the upper story is completely collapsed onto the first story, which in spite of some big cracks looks fairly intact. Now notice that the three domes survived the collapse and are sitting on what used to be the second floor. My guess is that the walls and structure of the lower floor are made of reinforced masonry--either cast in place reinforced concrete, or reinforced cmu (concrete masonry units "cinder blocks" with rebar and grouted cores.) Evidence in the pictures suggests that the upper walls were unrienforced cmu--there are no tangles of rebar or solid grouted blocks visible. The domes themselves, I'm betting, were cast in place from concrete with lots of metal rebar reinforcement inside.
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