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Byron Shire
August 9, 2022

Engineers available for structural assessments

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Gavin Blakey, Field Lead Engineer from Engineers Without Borders (EWB), Ella Rose Goninan, HHUG Director, and Dominic Cavanough, EWB engineer. Photo supplied

Engineers Without Borders (EWB) will be providing freely-accessible engineering expertise to the Northern Rivers in conjunction with Holding Hands Under Ground (HHUG). 

EWB is an Australian-based NGO that has been sending volunteer engineers for international development and into disaster zones in developing nations across the world, as well as working with First Nations communities in Australia for nearly two decades. 

Eleanor Loudon, CEO of EWB Australia, says, ‘The impact of the floods on the people of northern NSW is still very much evident’.

Ella Rose Goninan, director of HHUG,  says this will be the first time the organisation will be working in a flood disaster zone in its home country. 

‘The volunteer engineers sent by EWB will assist residents with geotechnical assessments on landslides, advice on washed-out waterway crossings, and structural assessments of damaged homes and other private buildings. Such assessments can then be used to inform any further steps of design, repair, rebuild and remediation. 

‘This project will also involve collaboration with local community disaster groups, Landcare groups and every council in the region to assist in reaching residents who are requiring support.’ 

Ms Goninan says she initiated this partnership in the early days of this year’s flood crisis via long-term contributor to Renew Fest, Danny Almagor, who founded EWB in 2004. 

Impacts evident

‘We look forward to complementing the activities of community groups, businesses and all levels of government who have been supporting their communities since the floods earlier this year. And we gratefully acknowledge the generosity of our engineering volunteers, engineering firms providing pro bono services and funding provided by supporters of EWB, along with the tireless work of local organisations,’ said Ms Loudon. 

For more information, or to register your needs as resident, billet an engineer, or to donate to support the running costs of this initiative, visit HHUG.

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