The ability to make observations rapidly and precisely following a disaster has long been recognized as critical to managing emergency response activities in the short term and improving the understanding of natural hazards in the long term. Participating in tsunami and earthquake reconnaissance is a vivid reminder of why we are actively engaged in earthquake engineering and risk management.
In 1973, EERI formally initiated the Learning from Earthquakes (LFE) Program. This program, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, sends out multi-disciplinary teams of researchers (e.g., earth scientists, engineers, social scientists) into the field to investigate and to learn from the damaging effects of earthquakes and tsunamis. The reconnaissance team makes a rapid, general damage survey of the affected area, documents initial important observations from the tsunami and/or earthquake, and assesses the need for follow-up areas of research.
For the Emilia Earthquake, the EERI has not deployed a team itself, but has worked in close collaboration with the European Centre for Training and Research in Earthquake Engineering (EUCENTRE) in Pavia, Italy to set up this clearinghouse. The EUCENTRE has developed a mobile laboratory, within the STEP (Strategies and Tools for Early Post Earthquake Assessment) and DRHOUSE (Development of Highly-specialised Operative Units for Structural Evaluation) projects, which includes high technology equipment for the assessment of structures and strategic infrastructural systems after earthquakes. The EUCENTRE is working closely with the Emilia-Romagna Region and the Italian Department of Civil Protection to collect data on damaged buildings following the Emilia earthquake using the aforementioned mobile laboratory.
This website will post up brief observations from all teams in the field as well as link to websites maintained by these organizations where more detailed information can be found.