Engineers assist after Japanese earthquake
Two NSW Public Works engineers were part of a 76-person NSW Heavy Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR Task Force) sent to provide support in the wake of the 11 March Japanese earthquake and tsunami. The USAR Task Force, activated on 12 March, was made up of people from Fire & Rescue NSW, NSW Health, Ambulance Service of NSW and NSW Police Force.
Mikhail Kogan and Aaron Roushani from our Engineering Emergency Management team provided the structural engineering role in the task force. They were assigned to work in Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, about 88km west of the earthquake’s epicentre and directly in the path of the subsequent tsunami. It is one of the towns most severely affected, with reports that 10,000 people are missing.
Road access to the impact area was limited and there were difficulties in securing supplies of fuel and bottled water. The weather was also a major problem with rain and late season snowfall and overnight temperatures down to -17 degrees. Mikhail and Aaron and the rest of the Task Force returned on Tuesday 22 March after a job well done under extremely difficult circumstances.
Japanese Ambassador Shigekazu Sato was at Sydney airport to meet and thank the Task Force on its return home. The Ambassador is pictured with engineers Mikhail Kogan, centre, and Aaron Roushani.