NZ Engineers help local Indonesians with earthquake damage assessments
21 October 2009
Ten volunteer engineers from New Zealand are helping to take some of the load off Indonesian authorities as they embark on the immense task of recovery following the destructive M7.6 earthquake that struck Padang in Indonesia on 30 September.
Padang with nearly 1 million people is comparable to the size of Auckland city. Over 40,000 buildings suffered significant damage, and there have also been earthquake induced major landslides in surrounding areas.
In a little over a week the NZ Team has assessed and classified over 140 buildings including hospitals, schools and other public buildings, and made recommendations to the Governor of Padang on their fitness for re-occupation. The building damage assessments are based on a colour coding system. Of the buildings inspected by the NZ Team half were found to be Occupiable (Green), a quarter had Restricted Use (Yellow) and a quarter were classified as Unsafe Red), requiring major work or demolition. The Governor of Padang has asked UNDP to provide a recovery action plan by 20 October.
Dr. David Hopkins, Chairman of Earthquake Engineering NZ, who led the organising of this mission said: “It is great to see New Zealanders with the skills and experience volunteering to assist at a time of great need. This small contribution is reducing the workload a little and providing encouragement to our Indonesians counterparts as they tackle the daunting task of rebuilding the city’s buildings, infrastructure and economy. ”
Pictures taken by the team indicate the fickle nature of large earthquakes and give an indication of the enormous recovery task. A traditional house remains intact, a modern hotel shows no signs of damage, a shopping mall and an apartment building loses a storey. Three weeks after the earthquake there are many buildings requiring attention, a sobering reminder that reconstruction and recovery for this city of over one million people will take several years.
Following a call from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on 5 October, Earthquake Engineering New Zealand (EENZ) along with the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering (NZSEE) have co-ordinated the placement of 10 structural engineers to assist the local Padang Public Works engineers to undertake assessments of the damage to numerous buildings. The UNDP is the chair of the Padang Urban Recovery Cluster Group, and are acting on behalf of the Government of Indonesia (GOI).
They have all volunteered their time with the costs of travel and accommodation being met by The New Zealand Government through NZAID, New Zealand’s Agency for International Development, along with the Earthquake Commission and the Department of Building and Housing.
The NZ Padang Project Team Leader Dave Brunsdon is well equipped to lead the team, with a background that includes developing engineering support for New Zealand’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams, and leading the development of the NZSEE Guidelines on “Building Safety Evaluation during a State of Emergency”
Most of the Project team is due to return to New Zealand this weekend.
NZ Padang Engineers Mission
Pictures taken by the team indicate the fickle nature of large earthquakes and give an indication of the enormous recovery task. A traditional house remains intact, a modern hotel shows no signs of damage, a shopping mall collapses and an apartment building loses a storey. Three weeks after the earthquake there are many buildings requiring attention, a sobering reminder that reconstruction and recovery for this city of over one million people will take several years.
Further details are provided on the NZ Society of Earthquake Engineers website, www.nzsee.org.nz.
Graeme Carroll, Facilitation & Marketing Support
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