Updates From the Field- Guatemala Field Study Trip

As part of a grant agreement with the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), EERI organized a field visit to Guatemala. The EERI team has been documenting rebuilding issues associated with the M7.4 November 2012 earthquake, with a focus on traditional construction and older brittle reinforced concrete buildings. The field visit is organized collaboratively with the Guatemalan Association of Structural and Seismic Engineering (AGIES).

The team toured downtown Guatemala City, which has a large number of older concrete buildings; Quetzaltenango in Western Guatemala, to get a sense of rural construction practices in Guatemala; and the San Pedro and San Marcos areas, where rebuilding efforts are ongoing following the damage from the November earthquake.

The EERI team will produce a report that includes observations on engineering challenges and recommendations for needed changes in policy and construction practices. The report will be written with AGIES input and distributed to the memberships of both AGIES and EERI, as well as the GFDRR. The broader outcome from this field visit is the development of a more collaborative relationship between EERI and AGIES that can focus on improving construction in Guatemala and hopefully neighboring countries.

The following photos were taken by Maggie Ortiz, EERI Staff Member and Sahar Safaie.

EERI and AGIES team members discuss the damage to a typical brick home. Source: Maggie Ortiz, EERI Staff Member

Many corner buildings suffered severe damage and were demolished. The corrugated metal walls indicate rebuilding on the site. Source: Maggie Ortiz, EERI Staff Member

AGIES and EERI team members attend a meeting with the Mayor of San Pedro/San Marcos. He was interested in hearing about the work of the joint team and also presented data on damage and rebuilding in the urban and rural areas of the municipality. Source: Sahar Safaie

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