UNDP: Nepal Earthquake Debris
Management Support

Nepal 2015

GEG was hired by UNDP Nepal to implement and manage the rollout of their UNDP Debris Management and Demolition Program for the initial 5 months after the Nepal Earthquake of April 25, 2015. GEG’s Debris and Demolition Management Experts led the program, delivering high impact results in extremely challenging circumstances.

Background: In 2014 GEG was retained by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to carry out a review and redesign for Red Cross Contingency and Continuity of Operations Planning in the event of a major earthquake in the Kathmandu Valley, conducted in close collaboration with the UN and the government of Nepal. Review findings indicated that post-event damage assessment, demolition of dangerous structures and safe debris management would be a critical component of effective response and recovery in the event of a major earthquake. GEG had engaged previously with UNDP New York regarding prospective debris management support services in case of a crisis such as the Nepal earthquake.

Requirement: When in April 2015 earthquakes struck, GEG was ideally placed to respond to the request from UNDP for immediate assistance in support of the Government of Nepal. Response, relief and early recovery efforts were complex due to physical and organisational challenges. Ongoing tremors created more risk with insecurity related to falling debris causing additional displacement and fear. Devastated infrastructure made access to the affected areas in remote locations difficult and dangerous. Organisational and logistics capacity at the central and local levels was overwhelmed. Widespread poverty aggravated the situation.

GEG Contribution: Deployed an experienced highly-qualified professional response team of GEG Demolition and Debris Management Experts with reconstruction knowledge, language ability and technical skills to design a plan of action, start-up and manage operations for an extensive cash-for-work program. The team worked with a cadre of Nepali engineers, training and mentoring them to take responsibility and ownership in the response while building capacity and facilitating the transition to the early recovery programme.

Over a 4-month period the UNDP Program, under the guidance of GEG Debris Management and Demolition Experts, achieved the following results:

  • Safe Demolition of over 2400 earthquake-affected structures.
  • Debris Clearance of over 200 000 cubic meters of debris, including the clearance of buildings and infrastructure such as roads affected by landslides.
  • Recycling of over 11 million dollars-worth of building material.
  • Emergency employment of around 4400 disaster-affected Nepalis hired in some of worst-impacted districts.
  • Capacity building and knowledge transfer to 80 local engineers. Through the UNV program, Nepali engineers were trained in first aid, sensitivity training, and psychosocial support along with safe debris and demolition practices.
  • Gender diversity ensured 45% female participation in the emergency employment program.
  • Innovative debris management and data collection. Working in partnership with Microsoft, program piloted a new application for beneficiary identification, building assessments, demolition planning and tracking of affected populations, allowing for more transparency and efficiency throughout the project cycle.

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