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30th April 2009

Exonian helping Tsunami-hit communities is recognised


Congratulations to Elizabeth Guilford (2000, Earth Sciences), who has won an award for her work on the Tsunami Recovery Programme in Aceh, Indonesia. Ms Guilford has been named Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) Young Member of the Year 2009, and will be presented with her award in May.

Ms Guilford works as a hydrogeologist with Mott MacDonald Indonesia, who were appointed as engineering consultants to the American Red Cross after the tsunami hit. Her work involved the detailed design of permanent water supplies for about 46 rural communities that are still being rebuilt. Aceh is a challenging place to work, as it is both a post-conflict and post-disaster area, and now imposes strict sharia law. There are also additional obstacles such as not being able to get to water sources because of tigers living in the jungle, and the constant threat of earthquakes: “It was a really challenging time,” she said, “but had many enjoyable moments.”

CIWEM is the leading professional body for those committed to the sustainable management and development of water and the environment. The award recognises the outstanding contribution to environmental understanding made by a young member of CIWEM, and this year will be split between the two shortlisted candidates. Mott MacDonald nominated Ms Guilford not only for her work designing water supplies, but also because she taught herself Indonesian (and some of the local language), taught her colleagues basic hydrogeology so that they could understand her work and also tried to promote more sustainable options for supplying power to water supplies

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