Two civil engineers are today flying to Nepal to aid the search and rescue effort following Saturday’s catastrophic earthquake.
Former Aecom senior structural engineer Josh Macabuag, who is currently studying for an engineering doctorate at University College London, and Atkins senior geotechnical engineer Mark Scorer, are part of a 15-strong team flying to Kathmandu.
The team, put together by charity Search and Rescue Assistance in Disasters (SARAID), have been trained in urban search and rescue techniques one day a month for a year and a half.
It will take more than a tonne of specialist equipment to Nepal to help it locate and help people trapped under collapsed buildings.
The earthquake, reported to measure 7.8 magnitude, struck the mountainous Asian country on Saturday 25 April.
The Red Cross said up to 6M people could be affected, across a 100km area. It added that forecast rain could make the dire situation even worse.
SARAID UK co-ordinator Jules Tipler said Macabuag and Scorer would have a special role assessing collapsed structures before search teams went into them.
“They are trained to crawl under collapsed buildings and it is likely they will get involved in searches,” he said.
“But they will also help shore up damaged buildings on the fly to make them as safe as possible to go into and search for survivors.”
The charity is sponsored by equipment manufacturer Makita and is taking power tools including heavy duty drills and chainsaws to Nepal.
The trip will last for about two weeks, and will generally taken as annual or unpaid leave by the volunteers.
“They do this because they want to give something back, and apply their skills to help others,” said Tipler.
“They will be active every day they are out there, being deployed as needed by the UN.”
He called for more engineers to join SARAID.
“We have a team of 30 people, and all those who are able to go on this trip have done so,” said Tipler. “If we had more members, we could send more people.
“We welcome applications from engineers, who are problem solvers by nature. Whether it is getting heavy cargo on to an aircraft or assessing buildings for safety, engineers can apply their skills, and that’s why they are invaluable.”
All the trips and training are funded by donations. You can give to the Nepal deployment here.