Elizabeth Rankin | July 19, 2017
When Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti in October 2016, Kellogg Faculty Fellows Tracy Kijewski-Correa and Alexandros Taflanidis, structural engineers who had been working to develop disaster-resistant housing on the island since Haiti’s massive 2010 earthquake, knew their team had to get on the ground immediately.
“Matthew was the first Category 4 storm to impact Haiti in more than a half century,” Kijewski-Correa says. “We needed to get there to collect perishable information—to document damage patterns that would allow us to do an engineering reconstruction of what happened when the hurricane made landfall as well as human accounts of the event while they were still fresh.”
Two grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) have made it possible for Kijewski-Correa and her collaborators to do just that. As a plus, through door-to-door surveys to document the recovery plans of individual households, the investigators will be able to study the role that religion and other factors play in Haitian homeowners’ responses to disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes.
The ambitious project’s interdisciplinary team includes Faculty Fellows Debra Javeline, a political scientist, and Karen Richman, an anthropologist, as well as Notre Dame coastal engineer Andrew Kennedy and University of Florida wind engineer David Prevatt.