Field missions: Port-au-Prince Haiti 2010
Following the magnitude 7.0 earthquake in Haiti on 12 January 2010 an atlas presenting an overview of building damages in Haiti was produced from a detailed, building by building assessment based on the comparison of pre- earthquake satellite images and post-earthquake aerial photos. This massive work was carried out in support of the Post Disaster Needs Assessment and Recovery Framework (PDNA), a government-led exercise that pulls together information on the impacts of a disaster from a broad range of sectors, cross-cutting themes and perspectives into one comprehensive report. The categorization of damage is based on the European Macroseismic Scale (EMS-98) with a five-level grading system. For the validation of the interpretation results a strategic, targeted field campaign was led to the areas affected by the disaster. Ground observations were derived from GPS photography, from which EMS-98 damage classes were estimated, and for which positions were centred on the building of interest. Due to the large amount of areas to be sampled, in situ data collection was complemented by the interpretation of results generated with the use of oblique aerial photography, known as Pictometry imagery. Data acquisition focused not only on the observation of damage suffered by buildings but also on the construction material typology, the number of storeys and the occupancy. The field mission allowed both analyzing the accuracy of the remote sensing based damage assessment and studying the applicability domain of the EMS-98 scale in the specific case of the Haitian context. It showed that the damage sustained by building structures, especially residential, was the main cause of human and economic losses in the areas affected by the earthquake. Besides, most of the damages observed were due to the poor performance of non-engineered reinforced concrete structures. These findings are supported by some selected examples showing the performance of different types of building structures.
Note: The mission was carried out jointly with the GLOBESEC Unit of the JRC.