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New Zealand companies honoured for disaster work

10 Sept 2008 Media Release Draft only

New Zealand companies honoured for Indonesian disaster recovery work

A Wellington-based business group of specialists has been honoured for its work in Indonesia following the devastating tsunami and earthquake.

Natural Hazards and Earthquake Engineering New Zealand received a certificate of appreciation from the Indonesian Government at a function in Wellington last night. (NB: Tuesday Sept 9)

Co-chairman Dr Noel Trustrum, of GNS Science, accepted the award on behalf of the group at the function held to celebrate Indonesia’s 63rd year of independence and 50 years of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Indonesia.

Natural Hazards and Earthquake Engineering New Zealand is a group of professionals, representing more than 50 organisations and companies with specialist skills in disaster recovery and preparedness work.
Its specialists were in Indonesia just weeks after the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami and then the 2005 Nias and 2006 Yogykarta earthquakes.

The work in Indonesia included protection and restoration of water catchment areas, earthquake resistance building design and training, earthquake risk assessment and community disaster risk reduction.

At the request of NZAID it led a scoping mission following the tsunami to look at projects that would help hard-hit communities rebuild their lives after the initial recovery phase.

It also provided earthquake advisory services in Nias and worked with the leading disaster management agency in Yogyakarta to better prepare for another potential disaster.

“But the track record of our members working with communities in Indonesia pre-dates these events. Twenty-five years ago we helped Indonesia prepare and disseminate its first earthquake building code. Thirty-seven years ago another member worked on mitigating the effects of volcanic eruptions and lahars on the slopes of Mt Merapi,” said Dr Trustrum.

Just last month the group was involved in a major joint Indonesia-New Zealand disaster risk management conference and workshop in Jakata.

It was set up at the request of the New Zealand Indonesian Ambassador Amris Hassan and led by NZ Civil Defence Minister Rick Barker to share the knowledge and experiences that Indonesia and New Zealand specialists had gained in disaster recovery and preparedness.

The conference resulted in twenty-five new initiatives in disaster risk management for New Zealand companies and organisations and it identified many areas where Indonesia and New Zealand could work together to reduce the impacts of tsunamis, earthquakes and other natural disasters.

“The high profile of the conference and workshop gave unparalleled access to senior decision makers in the Indonesian Government and other agencies involved in disaster risk management in Indonesia, Asia and the Pacific. Together we are also looking at how our combined skills can also be applied in other countries in South East Asia and the Pacific.”

“It has been pleasing to have support from the Indonesian Embassy, Grow Wellington, NZ Trade & Enterprise, Ministry of Trade & Foreign Affairs and NZAID for the development of these initiatives in Indonesia.”

ENDS

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