The Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (SGH) Team (Kevin Moore, Principal and Structural Engineering Division Head in San Francisco, and Anindya Dutta, Senior Project Manager) traveled from SFO to Taipei with Andrew Sen (PhD candidate from the University of Washington). After a short night in Taipei, the three-person team traveled by high speed rail to Tainan, approximately 300 km south of Taipei. Upon arrival, the three met with the fourth member of the team, Po-Chien Hsiao, a practicing structural engineer in Taipei. The SGH team met with local Taiwanese earthquake engineering leaders from the National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering (NCREE) and the National Cheng Kung University (NCKU). Other local Taiwanese engineers and another US reconnaissance team were present.
After the meeting, the SGH team traveled with the larger group, observing significantly damaged buildings and areas exhibiting liquefaction and related building damage. Reinforced concrete with masonry infill walls is quite common throughout Tainan. Most heavily damaged buildings appear to have inconsistent and inadequate reinforcing details, especially related to column construction. While we observed more than 10 heavily damaged buildings our first day, we traveled by thousands of buildings that did not show any signs of damage. Tainan seems vibrant and fully operational with only a few localized areas quiet and subdued after the 6.4 earthquake.
After completing a day of reconnaissance, the larger group (approximately 30 academics and practitioners) gathered at a banquet hosted by the Vice Principal of NCKU (who also happens to be a civil engineering professor). The faculty at NCKU are incredibly helpful and gracious in our efforts to see Tainan and locally damaged buildings. We will continue to observe both damaged and undamaged buildings over the next few days.