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Event Organiser: ICE

Natural disasters: an engineer's perspective in Nepal, London

  • Lecture
  • London
  • 16 July 2018
  • 18:00 - 20:30
Natural disasters: an engineer's perspective in Nepal, London

About this event

This lecture is now fully booked. Watch live online at 18:30. 

The World Bank classifies Nepal as a global disaster ‘hotspot’. The country is extremely vulnerable to earthquakes and a range of other natural disasters including landslides, flooding, fires – all of which kill hundreds of people each year.

The impact of natural disasters in Nepal is exacerbated by poor quality structures, poor public infrastructure and extreme poverty.

Engineers play a critical role in helping governments and local communities prepare for, mitigate and recover from disasters.

At this free-to-attend evening lecture, Kirsteen Merrilees will present her award-winning paper and provide delegates with an update based on her ongoing work in the region.

Delegates will learn about the great potential for engineers to contribute significantly to resilience by using their technical expertise, management skills and practical understanding of the physical world to support resilience through appropriate engineering responses for disaster preparedness, mitigation and recovery.

The lecture will be followed be Q&A session and a complimentary drinks reception.


18:00 Registration and refreshments
18:30 Welcome from the Chair
18:35 Main lecture
19:15 Questions and answers session 
19:35 Summation from the Chair
19:45 Drinks reception
20:30 Finish


Kirsteen Merrilees

Kirsteen Merrilees

Independent Consultant

Kirsteen started her professional life as a graduate engineer with Frank Graham back in the 1990’s.  Always having wanted to work in international development, and as soon as she passed her Civils she transferred to their international arm, O’Sullivan and Graham.   Kirsteen stayed with them in their various forms (WSP, now IMC Worldwide) until 2015 when she left to become an independent consultant.

Kirsteen first came to Nepal in 1999 and was involved in the design of the Rural Access Programme (RAP). With Masters degrees in engineering and in the social sciences, her role enabled her to use her combined specialism to help design a programme that delivered poverty alleviation and development through road construction.

In 2002 she went to Vietnam then Uganda, and Ethiopia, working on projects mostly linked to institutional strengthening of the road sector and mainstreaming social and environmental safeguards. She returned to Nepal in 2010, again working on RAP. In 2012-13 Kirsteen worked as Team Leader for the Earthquake Recovery and Disaster Risk Reduction Project, a component of RAP2 that rebuilt repaired and retrofitted schools and health posts in Eastern Nepal damaged by the September 2011 Sikkim earthquake.

It is that experience which first introduced her to the world of disaster resilience and risk reduction and which led to her writing the published paper. Currently Kirsteen is Team Leader for the Mugu Humla Link Road, a component of RAP3 which aims to connect the last unconnected district (in north western Nepal) to the national road network. She is the ICE Representative in Nepal, and has been involved in supporting the Nepal Engineering Council to introduce their Professional Engineer (Nepal) title, with technical support from the ICE international and regional teams. She also recently joined the editorial panel of Municipal Engineer, the journal that published her Disaster Resilience paper.

Richard Pearson

John Beswick

Chairman, ICE Municipal Engineering Editorial Panel (Chair)

Richard Pearson has 30 years experience in civil engineering with a transport focus. He has worked in the public, private and voluntary sectors in roles including Director of Highways for the Isle of Man, Business Manager for Atkins London Office, Director of Transportation for Brent and Head of Consultancy at Camden. Part of his role at Camden was to oversee the delivery of the LCN+ for which the Consultancy secured the National Consultancy of the Year award. He also co-wrote the ICE guide to the Highways Act.

He currently enjoys England's south coast as the Highway Design and Road Safety Manager for Bournemouth Borough Council and is responsible for delivering the Borough's local improvement and road safety work. Their intervention for young drivers won the national award for best new training scheme in 2016.

Event venue

Institution of Civil Engineers
One Great George Street
London SW1P 3AA
United Kingdom

For more information please contact:

ICE Events Team

e: [email protected]