New Words of Hope for Haiti's Architectural Future
Amidst the death and destruction in Haiti, hope comes from the work of Dr. Brady Cox , a civil engineering professor at the University of Arkansas. Professor Cox is a member of the National Science Foundation. He had studied the effect of earthquakes in Japan, Peru, Turkey and other countries in the past.
He will travel to Haiti next week to conduct soil tests and structural analysis to determine the cause of the flattening of the buildings and other structures, and find ways to minimize the effects of any high Richter tremor in the future.
The damage and devastation in Haiti was very high for a comparable shake up in other parts of the world. For example, when a quake measuring 7.0 on the open ended Richter scale hit San Francisco in 1989, it killed fewer than 70 people.
Constructing earthquake resistant buildings is cost prohibitive. However, Haiti's shoddy construction practices of not adhering to applicable engineering codes was the main culprit behind the widespread harm.
Concrete structures are obviously the best equipped to withstand severe earthquakes; nonetheless, there is a cheaper solution that has been tested to withstand the jolt fairly successfully. Houses built with straw, clay, and gravels that were half the cost of concrete and steel structures did survive earthquakes quite well in Pakistan.
With his new study in Haiti, Professor Cox may very well come up with some new affordable solutions that would drastically limit the damage from any future earthquakes. This would the best news to the million of suffering Haitians.