ILO initiative strengthens engineers’ capacities in post-earthquake Syria

An ILO workshop has provided engineers in Aleppo in northern Syrian with structural damage assessment equipment and trained them on its use, to support rehabilitating infrastructure and buildings damaged by last year’s earthquake.

Article | 22 February 2024
ALEPPO (ILO News) - The International Labour Organization (ILO) has provided state-of-the-art structural damage assessment equipment to engineers in Aleppo in northern Syria, an area that sustained severe damage from last year’s earthquakes that hit Turkey and parts of Syria.

The ILO also held a training workshop for the engineers - all members of the Order of Syrian Engineers and Architects (OSEA) - to train them on using the equipment and to enhance their expertise in post-earthquake structural damage assessment.

ILO Technical Officer in Syria, Sharif Khaled, emphasized the importance of the training and the equipment, which includes rebound hammers, ultra-Sonic pulse velocity testers and steel rebar scanners, in addressing the urgent needs of communities in the Aleppo area.
"The support responds to the expressed needs of OSEA and the local communities to properly assess structural damage with appropriate technologies that are in shortage in Syria. These technologies are essential to meet the national seismic codes to ensure the ‘build forward better’ approach in the earthquake recovery efforts,” Khaled said.

Engineer Mohammad Korj of OSEA said the organization was grateful for the ILO’s timely support. “We requested support from many UN agencies, and the ILO was the first to respond to our urgent needs. Their response was not only the quickest but also the most substantial in terms of quantity,” Korj said.

We requested support from many UN agencies, and the ILO was the first to respond to our urgent needs. Their response was not only the quickest but also the most substantial in terms of quantity"

Eng. Mohammad Korj / SOAE / Aleppo, Syrian Arab Republic
A total of 24 engineers participated in the training workshop, which involved theoretical modules and fieldwork training on using the new equipment. The training involved hands-on activities, allowing trainees to directly use the new devices, analyze test results, and determine necessary treatment methods.

The training and the equipment will help engineers better assess structural damage and devise and implement the necessary rehabilitation plans.
The trainer of the workshop, Engineer Motaz Hussein, said: "These trainings are very important; we need skilled engineers in significant numbers to mitigate the effects of earthquakes and provide accurate reports using modern available technologies. Through knowledge dissemination, more people will gain the knowledge acquired within this training. We identified factors that could affect the results of devices to obtain accurate readings and learned how to use them effectively.”

"We are grateful to the ILO for providing us with this modern equipment and training on its practical use, especially after the earthquake,” said one of the trainees, Engineer Mohammad Qadi of OSEA. “This assistance will help our communities return to their homes and live safely within them,” he said.

Another trainee, engineer Mahmoud Seket, said: "We would like to thank the ILO for the valuable information brought to us through this workshop; we benefited immensely from it. We also learned about Occupational Health and Safety while using this equipment, understanding the standards, procedures, and various risks to protect ourselves during our job using the equipment. The training was interactive, allowing us to share expertise. Equipped with this equipment, we can detect resistance, cracks, earthquake impact, and building damage, which we will use in our future experiments and tasks."