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Nepalese officials impressed by New Zealand earthquake learnings

Nepalese officials impressed by New Zealand earthquake learnings

Nepal officials on a study tour of New Zealand, have been impressed by Kiwi authorities’ response to the earthquakes in Canterbury and Kaikoura and their generosity in sharing their experiences.

A 20-strong delegation from the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) of Nepal have been in Wellington this week to meet with officials and scientists who have worked on the Government response to New Zealand’s major natural disasters.

Delegation leader Dr Chandra Bahadur Shrestha said that the depth and breadth of knowledge shared by the New Zealand officials will be invaluable as Nepal continues to recover from its own 2015 disaster, when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the Gorkha area.

“We have been overwhelmed by warmth and generosity of the New Zealand authorities and agencies to take time and share their experiences with us, and we have been impressed with how much New Zealand has achieved to deal with your own earthquakes,” said Dr Shrestha.

During their action-packed first week of the two-week study tour, the delegation this week met with officials at MBIE, MCDEM, EQC, Wellington City Council, scientists at GNS and the Joint Centre of Disaster Research at Massey University, as well as NZ Lifelines chairperson Roger Fairclough.

The visits covered a wide range of topics from engineering challenges, disaster recovery, earthquake insurance, improved science and resilience programmes.

Dr. Shrestha said that Nepal faces very similar challenges as New Zealand, but he said New Zealand was able to respond much more effectively because it had effective and well-funded Government structures in place.

“New Zealanders are fortunate to have stronger building regulations and insurance schemes like EQC to get them through a natural disaster, compared to Nepal which relies heavily on overseas support in our recovery,” said Dr Shrestha.

The delegation leader explained that nearly 9000 people died and over half a million buildings were destroyed in the 2015 quake and many of the 800,000 displaced people still do not have a roof over their heads, five years later.

“The meetings with our New Zealand counterparts have been invaluable and we hope that we will be able to implement many of things we have learned back home to speed up our recovery and to prepare better for a future natural disaster.,” said Dr Shrestha.

The NRA study trip is supported and funded by the European Union throught the Nepal EU Acion for Recovery and Reconstruction (NEARR), who provide technical assistance and advisory services to develop more capacity within the NRA.

On Sunday, the delegation will travel to Kaikoura and Christchurch to witness first-hand what the earthquake recovery in those areas looks like and speak to the agencies on the ground who have been responsible for the reconstruction of those regions.

For more information, please contact Coen Lammers on 021-730239

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