Author Archives: Chesley Williams and Michelle Nicholson

Chesley Williams and Michelle Nicholson

About Chesley Williams and Michelle Nicholson

Chesley Williams, Senior Director - Product Management, RMS

Chesley manages the commercial development of the RMS earthquake and tsunami models for the Asia-Pacific region. Chesley joined the Model Development Group at RMS in 1995, with expertise in developing seismic source models.

Through her tenure at RMS, Chesley was a model developer for key products including the 2018 RMS Japan Earthquake and Tsunami HD model and earthquake models for Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Chesley has recently shifted roles from model development to product management to use her years of experience at RMS to facilitate strategic product development, product marketing and product management.

Chesley holds a master's degree in geophysics from Stanford University, where she researched ground deformation associated with the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

Michelle Nicholson, Director, Marketing and Communications, Build Change

Michelle joined Build Change in January of 2019. She works with Build Change’s teams around the globe to market the organization’s innovative approaches to resilient building and to enhance the visibility of its initiatives worldwide. Michelle is based in Washington, DC, and attended the RMS Impact Trek 2019 in the Philippines.

Prior to joining Build Change, Michelle worked in international development communications and consulting for more than 10 years. She has led or contributed to communications projects involving more than 30 countries. Michelle earned her MPA and MA from Indiana University-Bloomington.

Haiti Earthquake: Ten Years On

This week marks the tenth anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. The magnitude 7.0 event ruptured a thrust fault associated with the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault system 25 kilometers (16 miles) west of the capital city Port-au-Prince. This fault system runs along the length of the Tiburon Peninsula and is no stranger to earthquakes, with major events impacting Haiti in both 1751 and 1770. This large time gap since the last major events meant that there was little to no societal memory or preparedness for earthquakes in the region, making the 2010 event particularly devastating.

In the 2010 event, the strong ground shaking lasted 30 seconds and caused extensive collapse of masonry and concrete structures due to both poor design and construction practices, and poor construction material quality. An estimate for the resulting death toll is a staggering 150,000 people.

The scale of the damage and the number of people killed impacted all aspects of life for the remaining inhabitants of Port-au-Prince and the surrounding regions. Vital infrastructure including hospitals, communication systems and transportation facilities (e.g., the airport and port in Port-au-Prince) was severely damaged or destroyed, hampering disaster response. With 250,000 homes severely damaged, more than one million people needed to be housed and fed.

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