Geo-Engineers without Borders
The ISSMGE's "Geo-engineers Without Borders" Committee (GeoWB) is a concept introduced by President Marc Ballouz. Pierre Delage has been invited to oversee this Committee, with Daniela Pollak, Board member, actively participating.
This Committee proposes to send volunteer Geo-experts from the ISSMGE network over the world (around 90 countries and 37 Technical Committees) to areas which have been affected by a Geo-disaster such as earthquakes, landslides, floods, failure of dykes, dam and tailing dams, collapse of geotechnical structures to mention a few.
Once this is done, the Geo expert will prepare a comprehensive report (3 pages or more) for national and international authorities (travel expenses paid by the ISSMGE).
This proposal will be made after analysing the local context and expertise in the country, utilizing where possible the ISSMGE network (Member Societies, members of Technical Committees).The report would include the following
- Description and causes of the disaster,
- Damages arising from the geo-disaster,
- Diagnosis of failures
- Potential remedial measures.
Particular attention will be given to risk analysis and possible preventive measures for the future.
The GeoWB, in collaboration with ISSMGE, aims to offer their global expertise to countries which have experienced a natural disaster. This is currently relevant especially in light of an increase in natural disasters, due to global climatic change.
The Committee will select experts among ISSMGE who would be ready to volunteer and provide intervention. Geo-experts should be located in close proximity to the impacted area and possess adequate knowledge of local context, language and culture.
Additionally, the Committee seeks to ensure that experts would be accepted by local colleagues and authorities, thus avoiding any diplomatic or political issue. Experts will be selected within the ISSMGE membership, through direct contacts with GeoWB members, through TCs (with the Technical Oversight Committee) or through Member Societies (with support from regional Vice-Presidents).
In nations with no ISSMGE Member Society, alternative procedures would need to be followed. In this regard, contacts would be made via the GeoWorld network which has members in most countries globally. Local contacts in those countries would be required for obvious reasons to cover logistical aspects such as speaking local language, interacting and connecting with local authorities, managing travel and accommodation issues, arranging local transportation.
GeoWB will undoubtedly devote special attention to the significant logistical work of organizing safe missions in remote areas, in conjunction with other organizations that have a great deal of experience of providing disaster interventions. Examples include Médecins sans Frontières, Engineers Without Borders groups, in the various countries where they exist.
A few members of GeoWB have prepared, with other colleagues, reports on recent earthquakes (February 6th, 2023 in Turkey, January 1st, 2024 in Japan). Some disasters caused by heavy rains are also documented (Brazil 2008, Storm Daniel in Greece 2023) - please refer to the "Reports on geo-disasters" thumbnail. Note that, on September 10th- 11th, 2023, Storm Daniel was also responsible for the dramatic failure of the two earth dams located upstream of the city of Derna in Libya. (Refer to the Wikipedia description here).
The formation of the managing group is an on-going process. It appears relevant to have GeoWB members from the six ISSMGE regions.
The present composition is as follows:
Pierre Delage, Chair (France - Europe)
Daniela Pollak, Board member (Chile - South America)
Prof. George Gazetas (Greece - Europe)
Prof. Fernando Marinho (Brasil - South America)
Prof. Antonio Gens (Spain - Europe)
Eng. Ahmed Chraibi (Morocco, Africa)
Dr. Lawrence de Leeuw (UK - Europe)
Eng. Will Ibim (Nigeria - Africa)
Dr. Jan Kupec (New Zealand - Australasia)