Earthquake engineers head to Nepal

  • 14/08/2015

Fifteen earthquake engineers are flying to Nepal to spend about three months helping with that country's earthquake recovery.

The engineers will help with seismic assessment, design of repair and retro-fit solutions, barricading, shoring, temporary works, deconstruction and demolition, Foreign Minister Murray McCully said today.

They will remain there until November.

It will cost $1 million to send the team to Nepal which would be on top of the $2m New Zealand provided in post-quake aid.

The April and May 7.8 and 7.3 quakes in Nepal killed around 9000 people and caused widespread destruction.

New Zealand sent five IT and communications workers as part of the international aid effort following the first quake.

"New Zealanders feel a close connection to Nepal and our on-going support for the rebuild reflects this," Mr McCully said.

The Red Cross says about 850,000 houses were damaged or destroyed in the quakes and more than 225,000 people were now sheltering in tents or under tarpaulins.

The local Red Cross had raised $2.9m (which included $660,000 from the government) in donations for Nepal.

Fifteen aid workers had gone to Nepal, the first within 72 hours, and four are still there. The IT specialist, logistic expert, nurse and security supporter will return at the end of September.

"There's been a really generous outpouring of donations from the New Zealand public, with lots of Nepali community groups banding together," said spokeswoman Hanna Butler.