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NZ Quake Experts Visit Taiwan

8 OCTOBER 1999


Seven New Zealand specialists are to spend the next seven days on a fact-finding mission in the earthquake-hit region of Taiwan.

Led by David Brunsdon, Principal of Spencer Holmes Consulting Engineers, Wellington, they are travelling under the auspices of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering and will observe effects on buildings, infrastructure, and the community.

The magnitude 7.6 earthquake occurred on September 21 claiming more than 2000 lives and leaving at least 100,000 homeless. Its epicentre was 145km south of Taipei, a city of 2.7 million people. In the six days after the main jolt, more than 7000 aftershocks occurred.

Mr Brunsdon said the earthquake was another reminder that New Zealand should be continuously reviewing its earthquake risk and taking steps to reduce it through strengthening the most vulnerable infrastructure and buildings.

The team will observe the performance of buildings, bridges, power supplies, water and sewer networks, and transport facilities – especially where they are of comparable engineering standard to New Zealand.

As with visits to other disaster-hit areas, such as Turkey, the team will share their findings with New Zealand colleagues and the public and make recommendations for changes in New Zealand.

Team members and their main responsibilities are:
- David Brunsdon, Spencer Holmes, Wellington – leader
- Chris Graham, Worley Consultants, Hamilton – geotechnical aspects, foundations
- John Zhao, Geological & Nuclear Sciences, Wellington – seismology, geology
- Geoff Sidwell, Connell Wagner, Wellington – structures, bridges etc
- Ron White, Thames District Council – emergency management
- Robert Davey, Opus International, Wellington – buildings, civil engineering
- Pilar Villamor, Geological & Nuclear Sciences, Wellington – seismology, geology

Travel is funded by the Earthquake Commission which has a strong record of supporting NZSEE activities. Team members’ time is given voluntarily, supported by their employers. The team left New Zealand on 7 October.


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