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Purdue engineer, other experts to assess Haiti earthquake damage

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A civil engineer from Purdue University is among a contingent of experts traveling to Haiti on Feb. 28 to assess building damage and gather data to help determine how to build structures in the future that are better able to withstand powerful earthquakes.

Ayhan Irfanoglu, an assistant professor of civil engineering, is representing the George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation Operations Center, or NEEScomm, funded by the National Science Foundation and located at Purdue’s Discovery Park.

The weeklong fact-finding mission to Haiti is being organized by the California-based Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, a national, nonprofit, technical society of engineers, geoscientists, architects, planners, public officials, and social scientists. NEEScomm is working with the institute in this effort to learn important lessons from the disastrous earthquake.

During his stay in Port au Prince, Irfanoglu will post regular updates to the community at

Researchers, educators and practitioners collaborate in the network to advance research and education to reduce the devastation and loss of human life from earthquakes and tsunamis.

“Professor Irfanoglu and others participating in the reconnaissance effort will gather perishable information from this event,” said Julio Ramirez, NEES principal investigator and a professor of civil engineering. “Their goal is to carefully scrutinize the evidence and extract the important lessons to be learned to mitigate the risk in future events, reducing injuries and deaths.”

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