Thu January 21, 2010
UB engineer leads french-speaking team to Haiti
By Joyce Kryszak
Buffalo, NY – A UB expert in seismic design is leading a team of engineers to Haiti. The specialists in earthquake structural damage will help identify any safe buildings that could be used for relief efforts.
The trip was organized by Andre Filliatrault, an engineering professor and director of UB's earthquake research center, MCEER. Filliatrault said he responded to a request for french-speaking engineers from AIDG, a humanitarian infrastructure development group. Filliatrault is French Canadian. So, he immediately volunteered and then quickly got to work assembling several teams of french-speaking engineers from all over the country and Canada.
Filliatrault will be among the first wave of ten engineers arriving in Haiti on Friday. He said even the logistics of getting there was daunting. They will fly first to New York City, then the Dominican Republic before being escorted to Haiti by an AIDG representative.
Once there, Filliatrault said they will begin working to identify buildings that might be safe enough for use for storage or as temporary hospitals. He said, right now, surgeons are operating in portable containers.
Filliatrault said even with repeated after shocks they expect to find some salvageable structures, at least on the outskirts of disaster torn Port-au-Prince. The team will be there for ten days and then another team of the french-speaking engineers will take their place.