DRC-Disaster Research Center

Quick Response Studies


The Social Impacts and Consequences of the May 12 2008 Wenchuan China Earthquake

Principal Investigators: Dr. Tricia Wachtendorf (As part of a larger team of engineers and planners, headed by Marshall Lew
Funding Agencies: Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) and and the National Science Foundation

Study Description

A team sponsored by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) and the Geo-Engineering Earthquake Reconnaissance (GEER) Association carried out a field investigation in conjunction with Chinese colleagues from August 3-11 to document effects of the May 12 earthquake. The EERI-GEER team was invited by Professor Zifa Wang, Director of the Institute of Engineering Mechanics- China Earthquake Administration (IEM-CEA). Professor Junwu Dai of the IEM-CEA accompanied the team during the field investigation. Under the leadership of Marshall Lew of MACTEC Engineering and Consulting in Los Angeles, the team included experts in structural, lifelines, and geotechnical engineering as well as in disaster response and recovery. EERI team members were David Friedman and Dennis Lau of Forell/Elsesser Engineers, Inc.; Laurie Johnson, urban planning consultant, San Francisco; Tricia Wachtendorf of the Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware, Newark; and Jian Zhao of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. The GEER team consisted of David Frost of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Savannah; J. P. Bardet of the University of Southern California; and Tong Qiu of Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. Observations of other investigators who visited the earthquake-affected region have also been incorporated in this report.

The EERI field investigation was conducted as part of the Learning from Earthquakes Program with funding from the National cience
Foundation under grant #CMMI- 0758529.

Study Related Publications

Wenchuan Earthquake Reconnaissance Team. 2008. Learning from Earthquakes: The Wenchuan, Sichuan Province, China, Earthquake of May 12, 2008, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) and Geo-Engineering Earthquake Reconnaissance (GEER)