ASCE Philippines Hurricane Yolanda Post-Disaster Investigation


On May 5, 2014, the Philippines Hurricane Yolanda Structural Analysis (PHYSA) field team of eight civil engineers began a week-long, post-disaster damage assessment of the impacted regions on Leyte and Samar islands. Below you will find links to the open forum project site housing over 10,000 inspection images taken on 155 structures as well as a field report blog. Note: the project site will require creation of a free account to access. 

One of the primary difficulties of post-disaster investigations is the collection of highly perishable data: watermarks may fade, damaged structures may be torn down or repaired and solid wastes removed.  With this in mind, the project objective becomes to improve data analysis capability while minimizing logistical tasks for the field team, so that more time can be spent in data collection.

Natural disasters bring out the very best in each of us, as the civil engineers are driven to serve, to aid those who are so devastated by these events. However, given the constraints of business commitments and hermetically-tight project schedules, we are not always able to realize this drive. For those that are unable to travel in times of these catastrophes, but wish to aid the post-disaster effort, we offer the project site as a new model for ASCE major disaster damage evaluation.

The purpose of the PHYSA site is a new open forum project model for post-disaster inspection. We request and encourage all to offer your expertise by participating in this web-based analysis. The website allows comments made that associate with specific reviewer, hence, credit for contributions can be made.

The initial trajectory for data analysis will be to identify factors that exacerbated the magnitude of damage (e.g. faulty/insufficient construction, location, etc.) and additional measures that could mitigate future losses, (e.g. revised construction techniques, materials, constructions of levies/sea walls, etc.). That said, we encourage a diverse and open dialogue, so feel free to allow your observations and thoughts to take the discussion where they may. We also welcome critiques on the investigation and the analysis technique. We will post the analysis progress in a separate website. Thank you in advance for your participation and efforts to help the Filipino people.

Super Typhoon Haiyan, also known as Yolanda, was a tropical cyclone that made landfall in the central Philippines on November 8, 2013. The storm's wind achieved sustained ten minute 145 mph (Japan Meteorological Agency, JMA), with one minute sustained of 195 mph (Joint Typhoon Warning Centre, JTWC). With the magnitude of sustained winds, JTWC assessed the system as a Category 5 equivalent super typhoon. From the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council's update on April 17, 2014, the total damage to agriculture, infrastructure, damage, casualties, etc. stands at 89,598,068,634.88 PHP (aprox. $2,041,926,221.40 USD), with 6,340 confirmed fatalities, 1,061 missing.

Statistics from:

"NDRRMC Updates re: Effects of Typhoon “YOLANDA” (HAIYAN)" (PDF). National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. April 17, 2014. Retrieved April 17, 2014.



PHYSA Home Team member Joseph Calvo


Related Links:

Project Site:

ASCE Field Report: