Haiti's devastating earthquake on January 12 presents unprecedented challenges to the science and engineering communities, to non- governmental organizations, governments, and other institutions providing immediate relief as well as to those involved in longer term reconstruction. Geoscientists are challenged by having to produce quantitative estimates of future seismic hazard in the face of extremely limited data. Engineers are challenged to identify cost- effective methods for building resilient structures. The rebuilding community is challenged not only by the scale of the devastation, but also by the very real possibility that Port-au-Prince may face another devastating earthquake within the next one or two decades. This risk needs to be considered when policy makers decide where and how to rebuild, especially critical infrastructure such as hospitals and schools, power plants, and government buildings.
This enormous challenge suggests that the rebuilding community needs to interact closely with scientists and engineers over the next few months, a period when major reconstruction will hopefully start. To avoid mistakes of the past, communication and information sharing are critical. The workshop will include keynotes, panels, and breakout sessions to facilitate interaction and engagement from all participants for the purpose of developing priority science and engineering recommendations for rebuilding Haiti's infrastructure and communities in ways that reduce the risk of future disasters.