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Swinerton Team Member Heads to Nepal in Wake of Disaster

Contributor: Swinerton Blogger   |   November 19, 2015
Swinerton Team Member Heads to Nepal in Wake of Disaster

On April 25, the 7.8 magnitude Gorkha earthquake struck Nepal, displacing 2.5 million people from their homes and sadly injuring and killing thousands. In June, Swinerton Builders Operations Manager Tom Malloy joined an international team of dedicated volunteers from Nepal and around the globe, to help rebuild damaged facilities and provide relief efforts to those affected by the catastrophe. The initial team made up of Search & Rescue and medical teams from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, arrived in Nepal within three days of the first earthquake; saving countless lives while helping distribute emergency food, water, and generators. The follow-up team was charged with food distribution, organizing local Nepalese volunteers, and building temporary schools in the damaged areas around Kathmandu.

With limited resources, Tom orchestrated the crews to layout square foundations, plumbing, align bamboo columns, and strap down the roof panels to prevent them from blowing off during storms. In one long day (6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.) the crew built eight classrooms in time for 160 students to learn in the next day. Temporary school buildings were built in place of permanent structures as the Nepal Government has committed to rebuilding all damaged schools within two years, beginning in November.

During their time in the country, Tom and a Nepalese Construction Engineer heading up the team’s efforts met with the organization Room to Read (R2R) at their Nepal headquarters. While R2R is not a disaster relief organization, they have developed a well-organized method of constructing schools and libraries throughout third-world countries in Africa and Asia—they aim to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and to support girls to complete secondary school. R2R has also invested in structural engineering to make sure their buildings are seismically sound in case of a natural disaster—none of their buildings have been damaged by earthquakes within the last four years. After discussions with R2R, the rebuilding efforts will continue by utilizing the model setup by R2R using volunteers and construction professionals in lieu of local village labor. With the assistance of Swinerton, Tom was able to donate one month of volunteer hours to help rebuild Nepal and create an organization which plans to continue rebuilding efforts for the next several years.

Special thanks to Operations Manager Tom Malloy for your exceptional volunteerism, time, and efforts!