Collapsed Building Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Photo Credit: Andrew Sisson

Seen here is a collapsed building in the capital city Port-au-Prince of Haiti following the January 2010 earthquake. It appears to have been a soft story collapse seeing the entire roof structure is mostly intact. Possible explanations of this could be weak concrete used in the columns or possibly too little steel reinforcement. Seeing this building was built in Haiti, lower construction quality is likely compared to countries like the United States, and lower code requirements exist, which unfortunately lead to a weaker building more susceptible to collapse.

  • Jake Clay

    If this building were not subjected to an earthquake load would it have failed, or is it because of the earthquakes loads that this building failed?

    • Alex R Mead

      It probably would not have failed is my guess. It was standing fine during normal loading but the large increase in energy delivered to the building during the earthquake is what took it down. Another large energy event also could have taken it down, such as very large wind loads, an explosion, or perhaps a runaway vehicle.