Activities, News and Events

AIT marks two months of the Nepal earthquake

“Lessons learnt from the Nepal Earthquake” was the theme of a seminar organized at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) to mark two months of the Nepal earthquake. Held on 25 June 2015, the event saw three students of the Disaster Preparedness Mitigation and Management (DPMM) program presenting their respective work following the disaster which struck the Himalayan country on 25 April 2015.

Narrating her experience on emergency communication was Ms. Serena Amatya, who along with another AIT student Neeraj Bhujel, had volunteered to join the Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) team. The TSF-AIT team provided free voice calls to the affected population, and ensured reliable satellite connectivity to relief organizations. Serena identified youth mobilization as one of the positive aspects following the Nepal earthquake, while the communication gap between the government and international NGOs was mentioned by her as a downside.

Another Master’s student, Ms. Jirada Khoonsinsub, presented aspects of social vulnerability following the earthquake. Jirada pointed towards fragile livelihoods in Nepal, particularly in agriculture, trade and tourism. Agriculture accounts for over 30 per cent of the GDP, while seven per cent of the population works in the tourism sector, she said, adding that both had been severely affected. However, remittances which account for 30 per cent of GDP are expected to rise significantly, she added. Trafficking of women and children, nutrition and educational needs of children, and vulnerability of the elderly were other key social aspects that needed attention, she said.

Md. Shahab Uddin, a doctoral student from DPMM, mapped critical infrastructure management and related them to hazards and vulnerabilities. He spent one month in Nepal ascertaining damage from the viewpoint of civil engineering, focussing on structural damage. “The damage seems to be concentrated in the old city area, with non-engineering structures suffering the most,” he remarked, as he identified weak structures, low quality materials, bad workmanship and soil amplification as factors contributing to the damage.

Earlier, while welcoming the participants, Prof. Pennung Warnitchai, Co-Coordinator of the DPMM program, stated that their students had been actively engaged in relief operations following the typhoon in the Philippines, earthquakes in Japan and Nepal, as well as after the tsunami in Indonesia. AIT Vice President for Resource Development, Prof. Kazuo Yamamoto appreciated the initiative of the students. In his concluding remarks, Prof. Jayant Kumar Routray, Co-Coordinator, DPMM program, commended the involvement of AIT students in relief and recovery efforts following disasters in the region. A slideshow of drawings by children belonging to the AIT community, which was a part of “learning by drawing” activity, was also presented.



Original story from AIT Website.

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