Umb seminar on earthquake in pakistan

UMB seminar on earthquake in Pakistan

UMB held a seminar for staff and students on 16 November to mark the effects of the devastation following the earthquake in Pakistan. Four UMB staff were in Pakistan when the earthquake hit and researchers discussed whether UMB can play a role (and what role) when a disaster hits.

Umb seminar on earthquake in pakistan

The quake left more than 87,000 people dead, more than 100,000 injured and as many as 3.5 million people homeless. Senior international aid officials have described the relief operation in Pakistan as the most difficult the world has ever known, even worse than the tsunami relief operation.

The objective of the seminar was to learn about the earthquake from a geological and humanitarian perspective, and to explore how UMB can contribute. In addition, participants heard about lessons learned from a UMB research project in the Himalayas on forest and soil degradation which was linked to another recent natural disaster: the landslides in Guatemala which killed hundreds of people in this Central American country. Experiences from international disaster relief efforts shed a light on the enormity of such assistance and the need for listening to local needs before embarking on well-meant but often poorly coordinated assistance.

UMB currently has 7 Pakistani students: 3 PhD and 4 Masters. The Department of International Environment and Development Studies, Noragric, has had 18 Pakistani Master students since 1991. One of Noragrics current PhD students from Pakistan, Bahadar Nawab, made a plea for help to his country. He underlined the need for financial, technical and moral support from the international community. He, together with Noragrics Associate Professor Ingrid Nyborg, raised money to assist a former Pakistani Noragric Master student to rebuild her home. The student in question lost her mother and several relatives in the quake.

The outcome of the seminar was to explore the possibilities of establishing an academic disaster response team, mobilizing UMB's knowledge and experience and making it accessible to e.g. policymakers in Norway and/or educational and development institutions in affected areas. By using UMBs institutional collaboration with universities in areas stricken by a natural disaster, relevant expertise could be exchanged immediately following a catastrophe. UMB also faces a challenge in assisting its staff that may be in the field at the time of such disasters, including areas of political unrest.

Published 2. September 2014 - 10:20 - Updated 23. May 2017 - 19:49