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Tiwari to Assist Nepal Recovery Effort

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Cal State Fullerton civil engineer Binod Tiwari will co-lead a team of 11 geotechnical experts to Nepal, following the powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the country April 25, killing more than 5,000 and destroying homes, temples and other historic buildings.

Departing May 4, Tiwari will be part of the national Geotechnical Extreme Event Reconnaissance Team, funded by the National Science Foundation. The team will collect technical information to support the rebuilding of the country, said Tiwari, who was born in Nepal.

“Our team will evaluate the effect of the earthquake on triggering liquefaction, seismic amplification and other effects that caused damage to infrastructure, including buildings and cultural, historic and religious sites,” said Tiwari, an expert on landslides and slope failure. “We’ll check what types of buildings sustained earthquake damage and what types did not. We’ll also see the earthquake’s effect on bridges, dams and highways and examine landslides triggered by the earthquake.”

The associate professor of civil and environmental engineering was last in Nepal in 2013, to deliver a keynote lecture before some 50 geotechnical professionals gathered in Kathmandu. The Nepal Geotechnical Society had invited Tiwari to discuss his NSF-funded research on soft soil sites and how the results can be utilized for seismic retrofit.

Tiwari called it an honor to have the chance to share his expertise with his homeland, as well as a unique opportunity to work with an interdisciplinary team of seismologists, ground-motion analysts, engineering geologists and geotechnical engineering experts.

“I strongly feel that I need to help Nepal with my expertise at this crucial moment. It is a time to pay back the country that gave me everything, so I could achieve to this level. My ancient hometown is Gorkha, where I spent my childhood, and it is close to the epicenter. I heard that my hometown has been converted to rubble. It’s hard to believe it.”

Tiwari conducted similar research in Japan after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami in 2011.