A technical assessment team from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently traveled to the Samoan islands to study the impact of the September 29, 2009 earthquake and tsunami on the region’s infrastructure. The team examined the performance of systems such as drinking water and sewage, roads and power supplies; looked at the effectiveness of shore protection and coastal management efforts; and gathered information on forces and loading that could aid resilient development efforts.

The group includes representatives from the ASCE Coasts, Oceans, Ports and Rivers Institute (COPRI):

Lesley Ewing, P.E., Team Leader, Coastal Engineer, California Coastal Commission

Jennifer L. Irish, Ph.D., P.E.; Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University

Christopher P. Jones, P.E.; Senior Engineer, Christopher P. Jones & Associates

As part of its disaster response procedure, ASCE forms technical teams to study infrastructure damage caused by natural or man-made disasters. Such studies are conducted so engineers may learn from the disaster and, perhaps more importantly, so those lessons learned may be documented to inform future actions.

ASCE has participated in more than a dozen assessments in the last decade, including studies of the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001; earthquake assessments in Italy, China, Peru, Japan, Sumatra-Andaman, Algeria, Alaska, and California; and assessments following hurricanes Katrina and Ike.