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UK CONSTRUCTION is on course to provide disaster recovery services to Turkey and East Timor.

A Government led trade mission has just returned from the earthquake hit parts of Turkey with a promise to provide technical assistance in redevelopment planning.

Also, the Association of Consulting Engineers is proposing a British taskforce of engineers and contractors to visit East Timor to help rehabilitate the country after the recent terror.

The Turkish mission, led by construction minister Nick Raynsford, included delegates from Balfour Beatty, Amec, Kvaerner, Taylor Woodrow and Ove Arup. The trip, set up before the earthquake hit in August, allowed many of the UK's contractors and consultants first-hand experience of the work needed to restore the damaged parts of the country.

Raynsford highlighted problems in the city of Adapazari. 'Only 30% of the city has safe drinking water. Some 500km of the 700km of water and sewage pipelines have been damaged, while 83% of homes are uninhabitable,' he said.

Raynsford is to write to the Turkish deputy prime minister with ideas for a joint UK Government and construction industry initiative to aid recovery.

Turkey has been identified by the Government as a campaign market and with international arbitration about to be accepted, there is potential for more than £30bn of privately funded infrastructure projects in the country (NCE 23 September).

There is less long-term potential in East Timor but the plight of the people is as acute. ACE chairman Jim Dawson said: 'Serious damage has been done to the infrastructure in East Timor which will need immediate attention. British consulting engineers have the skills to tackle these problems in quick order.'

He has written to Claire Short, Secretary of State for International Development, DTI Secretary of State Stephen Byers and Raynsford, urging the establishment of a taskforce similar to that set up for the reconstruction of Kosovo.

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