August 19, 2021
Earthquake structural engineering experts from Miyamoto International’s office in Port-au-Prince were joined Tuesday in Les Cayes by local engineers from Haiti’s Corps of Civil Engineers and Architects (CICA) under the Ministry of the Interior and Territorial Communities (MICT). Together, the team is conducting damage assessments of the impacted area, after a M 7.2 earthquake struck on August 14th.
The team was mobilized quickly due to years of ongoing training and engagement, spearheaded by Miyamoto and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID/BHA), whereby engineers have received training and certification in damage assessment methodology and a digital rapid damage assessment app for remote data collection.
As a result of the ongoing work, public engineers hired in 2018 and certified in the use of the damage assessment methodology are registered with CICA for the purposes of rapid disaster mobilization and a streamlined response effort. On Monday, engineers from the surrounding impacted areas converged in Les Cayes to begin assessing critical infrastructure, such as government water towers and the offices of charity organizations servicing displaced and impacted people.
Reports from the engineers in the field
Over 2,000 fatalities have been reported and Miyamoto estimates that at least 100,000 buildings have been damaged or completely destroyed. Thus far, assessments show 25% of buildings in downtown Les Cayes are damaged (red or yellow-tagged), largely due to liquefaction. In nearby Camp Perin, nearly 50% of buildings suffered moderate to severe damage. Critical infrastructure, such as water, power and communications are similarly damaged, with liquefaction impacted both local and national roadways. Landslides have also caused significant destruction.
“On Tuesday, we started rapid damage assessments in Les Cayes, which was heavily impacted during the earthquake. We are working with a team of CICA/MICT engineers, based in the Municipality in the South, who have been trained by Miyamoto under a USAID program, on the use of rapid damage assessments methodology and our digital assessment app. Despite widespread destruction, we were able to mobilize local engineers within days and are confident quick assessments will help support the Haitian Government and aid agencies assist people in need,” said Mark Broughton, a structural engineer with Miyamoto.