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NZ Geological Expertise Offered To Indonesia

20 JULY 2006

NZ Geological Expertise Offered To Quake-Hit Indonesia

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 May.


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.

The magnitude 6.3 quake killed nearly 6000 people and left 1.5 million homeless. Its epicentre was near the city of Yogyakata in central Java.

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. After the 10-day trip, he will make recommendations to NZAID on the nature of the proposed New Zealand-funded project.

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

The pair will also assess damage caused by a tsunami that struck coastal districts in western and southern Java earlier this week, killing more than 300 people with many hundreds either injured or missing.

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.


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