IMC consultant Kirsteen Merrilees awarded for paper on Nepal’s resilience to disasters

We are pleased to announce that the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has awarded the George Stephenson Medal to IMC former member of staff and current consultant Kirsteen Merrilees for her paper 'Natural disasters: an engineer’s perspective in Nepal'.

Wednesday 12 July 2017

Each year, ICE Publishing acknowledges authors from both industry and academia who have produced work judged by their peers to be of exceptional quality and benefit to the civil engineering and science community.

The George Stephenson Medal is awarded to the second best paper across all ICE journals. This year, the award has been received by ‘Natural disasters: an engineer’s perspective in Nepal’, authored by IMC former member of staff and current consultant Kirsteen Merrilees.

Nepal is prone to disasters such as earthquakes, floods and landslides, whose impact is worsened by climate change. Weak governance results in poor planning and bad construction practices. Meanwhile, the country’s harsh topography and extreme poverty aggravate its vulnerability to natural hazards.

Kirsteen has a long experience of working in Nepal, including through the UK Department for International Development-funded Rural Access Programme, which is implemented by IMC Worldwide.

Since 1999, RAP has been building 1,000 kilometres and maintaining 2,000 kilometres of rural roads alongside other critical infrastructure, to increase communities’ access to markets, education, and health facilities.

In this paper, Kirsteen explores the crucial role that engineers play in helping governments and local communities to prepare for, mitigate and recover from natural disasters.

RAP, for example, has been supporting the inclusion of resilience and climate change adaptation in rural infrastructure design standards such as roads, trails and bridges, which is innovative for Nepal.

Engineers can help increase Nepal’s resilience to natural disasters not only through technical interventions, but also in non-technical ways. The latter include training local technicians and builders on how to apply simple low-technology solutions to increase the safety of buildings.

If you want to learn more, click here to download the paper from the ICE Publishing Virtual Library.

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