Photo courtesy of RNZAF (Fiji in the wake of the March 2016 deadly tropical cyclone).

Making an impact with humanitarian action

T+T has been supporting the humanitarian sector for over four decades and has helped a growing number of vulnerable communities affected by crises, in New Zealand and around the world.

With an array of disaster specialists widely renowned for their expertise and inspirational commitment, T+T is often found at the front line of major disasters, leading the way with innovative and compassionate solutions.

Widely and effectively collaborating with NGOs, NDMOs and other humanitarian groups, we continue to provide a broad spectrum of services within the realms of strategy, preparedness, response and recovery.

Our award-winning work comes to the fore in response to  floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and geothermal eruptions; locally, this has included critical support to the New Zealand Government with major responses following the 2011 Christchurch and 2016 Kaikōura earthquakes.

In keeping with our values, we also contribute generously in the aftermath of crises; providing pro bono humanitarian expertise to relief efforts, such those following Tropical Cyclones Winston (Fiji) and Gita (Tonga), and the 2018 Tsunami in Sulawesi.

As an employee-owned company, our footprint in the humanitarian sector is solidly underpinned by a culture of caring and personal empowerment which fosters meaningful staff initiatives. One such initiative has helped to solve the immense logistical problems of getting post-disaster humanitarian aid to affected communities scattered across Pacific Islands – quickly and efficiently. A bespoke software solution (a web portal for various aid agencies and organisations) provides detailed information about existing emergency supplies that are stored at various locations. It allows effective coordination, promotes appropriate re-stocking of supplies, avoids duplications etc. Most importantly, it goes a long way to enhance the resilience of those vulnerable communities.

Recent work includes the development and implementation of Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems across the Pacific. It draws heavily on the expertise of our international disaster risk reduction and hazard modelling expert who regularly advises the United Nations on natural hazards and climate change. His track record comprises multi-hazard warning systems for 35 countries including the Tsunami Warning System for Indian Ocean countries following the disastrous 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.

Other relevant projects include bespoke software development services for the Australasian Church Agencies Network Disaster Operations (CAN DO) and climate change adaption/disaster risk reduction services for World Bank & ADB.

Last, but by no means least, T+T is proud to be an active supporter of Oxfam providing ongoing assistance and mentoring programmes for Oxfam staff and directly supporting the Centre of International Development (CID).

Expertise

  • Rapid Mapping for Disaster Response
  • Climate Change and Disaster Risk and Hazard assessments
  • Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems development
  • Web, desktop and mobile  bespoke software development for the Humanitarian Sector

Case Studies

Rohingya Refugee Crisis - Myanmar

Following ongoing extreme violence and discrimination against the Rohingya Muslim minority group in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, nearly one million refugees fled across the border into Bangladesh between late 2017 and early 2018. However, the rapid temporary resettlement of the displaced Rohingya in makeshift refugee camps resulted in dramatic impact on the land which extends into the Teknef Game Reserve and had been largely stripped of vegetation and crudely terraced to provide platforms for shelters. These stopgap measures exposed soils highly susceptible to landslides. As a result of these rapid changes across such a vast land area, UNHCR sought disaster risk reduction expertise from Tonkin+Taylor International (T+TI) to determine the landslide risk. T+TI also provided practical advice helping residents to sustainably improve their structures with local materials.

We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Television New Zealand – (Paul Deady and Miriama Kamo) and Oxfam NZ – (Kelsey Taylor and Rachael Le Mesurier).

United Nations - Logistics system for disaster stock preparedness

Following T+T’s rapid disaster mapping of Fiji in the aftermath of Cyclone Winston, it became apparent that aid efforts were hampered by logistical problems associated with getting emergency supplies to affected communities quickly and efficiently. As a result, T+T supported the UN World Food Programme initiative to develop a bespoke web based software platform that identifies the location and quantities of prepositioned stock for disaster readiness in the Pacific. The solution is tailored towards Aid Agencies and NDMOs that identify and set up their various warehouses and regularly update their stock. The system provides an overview of all stock across various locations and readily identifies which stock is available where. It avoids duplication of items and promotes effective collaboration. Thus, in the event of a disaster, supplies can be sourced and delivered quickly and efficiently to those affected.

Church Agencies Network Disaster Operations (CAN DO)

Eight church denominations in the Pacific have joined forces (CAN DO) so they can collectively better respond to future disasters in the Pacific. To enhance their efficiency and effectiveness, T+T has developed a bespoke web based software platform and offline mobile Android/iOS application that manages church and government (NDMO) owned evacuation centres. In the Pacific, these are often churches and church owned school buildings. The platform identifies the location of the evacuation centre and records attributes of the facility such as the number of people it can accommodate in a disaster etc. This system will enable the church agency network to be better prepared and able to respond to future disasters.

 

Disaster Response

Tropical Cyclone Winston - Fiji

Following the category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston that struck Fiji in February 2017 T+T offered its pro bono expertise to conduct a Rapid Mapping and Digital Damage Assessment for UNOCHA and the wider humanitarian community. Within three days of the cyclone event, T+T experts had developed a webportal with key information including damage maps, road closures and aerial imagery, all of which was continually updated and readily accessible by NGO’s, UNOCHA and other relief agencies. This award-winning work helped those agencies expedite and prioritise the delivery of aid to the communities that were left devastated by the event.

Tropical Cyclone Gita - Tonga

In February 2018, Tropical Cyclone Gita resulted in severe damage to infrastructure and agriculture across Tonga’s two main islands. However, due to the efforts of the local MET Service and emergency response team, no lives were lost.

Similar to the work following Tropical Cyclone Winston in Fiji, T+T rapidly mapped the damage at a high level to outline the worst hit villages across the islands and uploaded this information to a central geospatial platform online. This was made available to all agencies involved in the response to triage their response efforts and prioritise the worst hit areas.

In response to TC Gita, Tonga officially adopted the Clusters approach to humanitarian and emergency relief. Subsequently the UNDP contracted Tonkin + Taylor International (T+TI) to assess the performance of the cluster system in practice. The resultant After Action Review determined gaps, overlaps and successes that will significantly enhance Tonga’s ability to minimise impacts in future events.