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ICE delegations visit tsunami stricken far east

ICE news

THREE SENIOR ICE representatives are this month visiting tsunami struck areas of Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia and India to scope out how best to rebuild homes and infrastructure.

'Humbling, yet uplifting, ' was senior vice president Gordon Masterton's lasting impression from his visit to the tsunami affected areas of Sri Lanka last week.

He visited the west coast of the island as part of a fact fi ding mission with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

The ASCE/ICE joint visit refl cts the recently renewed Baltimore accord which aims to strengthen the relationship of the ASCE and ICE.

ICE deputy director general Amar Bhogal is this week in Thailand and will be visiting Banda Aceh, Indonesia.

ICE Asia Pacific committee chairman Graham Plant is this week in India.

A report on the visits will be published by April. It will give an account of the damaged areas, clear up operation and make recommendations to the UK, USA and Asian governments on appropriate reconstruction.

Masterton returned from Sri Lanka last Sunday having met with aid agencies and local engineers rebuilding communities and infrastructure.

'The Sri Lankan people are fully engaged in reconstruction - they're past the shock and now getting on with rebuilding the disaster [hit] areas, ' said Masterton.

But shortages of plant and skilled labour remain a barrier to the reconstruction process.

'There's a shortage in skilled labour. ICE Sri Lanka has called for bricklayers and joiners to come forward to help teach locals, ' said Masterton.

Getting the Colombo to Galle railway up and running has been a priority to restore some normality to the region. About 80% of the route will have been restored by this week, Masterton confirmed.

Masterton also met with seismic and tsunami experts from Moratuwa University who are investigating how and why some coastal stretches suffered more adversely than neighbouring ones.

'You can see several kilometres of severely damaged villages and then kilometres of no damage whatsoever, ' he commented.

Professor of civil engineering at Moratuwa University Sam Hettiarachchi believes that variations in seabed level were a key factor in where the tsunami caused most damage.

Hettiarachchi has called for UK modellers to help analyse characteristics of the Tsunami.

To offer assistance in tsunami modelling, or in sourcing plant and materials, contact email gordon. masterton@jacobs. com.

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