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News Release from GNS Science

NZ Geological Expertise Offered to Quake-Hit Indonesia

20 July 2006

A New Zealand engineering geologist leaves for Indonesia this weekend to see how New Zealand expertise can be used in recovery projects following the Yogyakarta earthquake in May.

  Engineering Geologist Dick Beetham
Engineering Geologist Dick Beetham, of GNS Science, will prepare the way for a New Zealand team to work in Indonesia following a devastating earthquake in Java in May.

The magnitude 6.3 quake killed nearly 6000 people and left 1.5 million homeless. It occurred on the island of Java and its epicentre was 80km south of the volcanically active Mt Merapi.

Dick Beetham, of GNS Science, will lead the two-person mission with assistance from Australian geotechnical engineer Graham Shorten.

The pair will work with Indonesian government officials to design a disaster preparedness project.

"We will identify the areas where New Zealand earth science, earthquake engineering, and disaster management expertise can be of most use," Mr Beetham said.

Mr Beetham is fluent in Indonesian and has worked in Indonesia before. He will make recommendations to NZAID on the nature of the aid project.

Likely components of the project will include disaster management planning, advice on building codes, and community-level education and training.

The impetus for the project came from the New Zealand Earthquake Engineering and Natural Hazards clusters who suggested to government body NZAID that New Zealand has the technical expertise to make a significant contribution to improve disaster preparedness and response capacities of the communities affected by the Yogyakarta earthquake.

NZAID provides about $12 million of development assistance to Indonesia annually.

For further information please contact:

Dr Hannah Brackley
Marketing Co-ordinator, Natural Hazards Group
GNS Science
Phone: +64-4-570-4564

Dick Beetham
Engineering Geologist
GNS Science
Phone: +64-4-570-4750

John Callan
Communications Manager
GNS Science
Phone: +64-4-570-4732


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