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Today We Remember

Guest Author: Renee Janofski

I remember the first time I visited Haiti, just three months after the earthquake. At the end of my trip, we drove through Port au Prince and I remember seeing so much rubble. Buildings collapsed on top of each other. I could count the stories as they laid like pancakes on the ground. Then, we drove a little further up the street and I remember seeing the 10 story Digicel building still standing. It was engineered to International hurricane and earthquake standards.

As I think back to this day, I can't help but wonder how many lives could have been saved if buildings would have been built to a higher standard. If there would have been a building code in place and enforced for businesses, schools, hospitals...

Today we look back, we remember.

Tomorrow, we continue to work towards building a stronger future.


Haiti's Buildings Weren't Fit To Withstand Quakes

January 14, 2010 12:00 AM ET Heard on Morning Edition

Christopher Joyce

"Haiti's magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck a country whose buildings were barely built to engineering standards and were hopelessly fragile in the grip of such a strong quake.

That's the assessment of Pierre Fouche, an earthquake engineer from Haiti — in fact, the country's only earthquake engineer, to his knowledge.

Fouche says when he was studying engineering in Haiti his professors told him that at least one building there would survive an earthquake — the presidential residence known as the National Palace. The palace now lies in ruins.

Fouche is now getting his doctorate in earthquake engineering at the University of Buffalo. He says his family has survived Tuesday's quake, but he's saddened by the fact that so many who didn't were killed because buildings in Haiti are so poorly constructed.

"Many people are doing whatever they want; they can build whatever they want," Fouche says. "One of the biggest problems too is that in the country we do not even have a national building code, which is very sad." (see full article here -

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