Helping hands, engineering expertise – teaming up to survey earthquake damage in Nepal

Pro bono project will assess and design repair programmes for nine hospitals damaged by earthquakes in April and May and present findings to the Nepali government. The project was undertaken as part of a longer-term programme to support Nepal’s resilience to natural disasters, funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

We, along with consulting engineers Ramboll, have teamed up to lead a pro bono surveying project in Nepal, and play a key role in the earthquake-ravaged country’s reconstruction programme.

Four teams of structural engineers and surveyors have been deployed across Nepal to assess the damage at nine hospitals hit by the twin earthquakes of April and May 2015.

The work is being carried out in conjunction with DFID and on behalf of the Nepali government, working with surveyors from the Nepali firm of consulting engineers John Sanday Associates.

The engineers and surveyors will give a detailed breakdown of the damage sustained and propose solutions for how the hospital buildings could be repaired, allowing us to produce an outline report  and costings for a programme of repairs.

The project’s findings will be presented jointly to the Nepali authorities and DFID, which is funding a programme of disaster resilience and capacity building in Nepal.

We have a long-standing working relationship with DFID, having previously delivered projects for the government department in developing countries around the world.

Before this year’s disaster, we were engaged with Ramboll in a DFID-funded programme to assess the earthquake resilience of 59 hospitals across Nepal, and devise a strengthening strategy for the most at risk.

The post-earthquake surveys were undertaken as part of this longer-term programme. Working with Nepali government colleagues as well as DFID’s Health Sector Programme team, we, along with Ramboll, were able to identify and survey the most vital hospitals.

The programme also trained and employed 150 Nepali engineers, who were equipped with the latest surveying techniques. Now in the country’s time of need, the British and Nepali teams have been reunited as they work to shore up the most badly damaged hospitals.

Leonie Grover, Associate Director, comments:

“Two months after the first devastating earthquake hit Nepal, the TV cameras may have moved on, but the disaster relief work is far from over. And the hard work of rebuilding the country’s shattered infrastructure is just beginning.

“I’m returning to Nepal full of excitement, but under no illusions about the scale of the task that awaits me. Turner & Townsend’s previous work for DFID in Nepal was all about training Nepali engineers and surveyors and helping the country to prepare for the worst.

“Now the worst has happened, the importance of our work has been thrown into sharp relief. Working with colleagues from Ramboll, DFID, and Nepal, we have a crucial role to play in helping the Nepali government to repair and rebuild several essential hospitals.”

Dave Grove, Director at Ramboll, added:

“The teams found the level of damage varied between each building we inspected. We hope our work will help the Nepali authorities and DFID to prioritise which hospital buildings need repairing most urgently.

“Ramboll has enjoyed a long relationship working in Nepal with Turner & Townsend and John Sanday, and we were very pleased to utilise our combined knowledge and experience to help Nepal reconstruct some of its most critical infrastructure.”