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During the Spring conference, SAEA member Eng. Abdullah Ibraheem of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) presented on the role of engineering teams in Climate Change and Natural Disaster scenarios.

While Ibraheem’s work at FEMA focuses on disaster mitigation in the US, the post-presentation discussion turned to how this knowledge can be applied globally. Members discussed what lessons can be learned to control flood damage and earthquake damage in Syria–a location with more primitive technologies and budget limitations given the crisis Syria has been undergoing.

SAEA members continued this discussion by reflecting on the numerous loss of permanent and temporary homes due to flooding and snow build-up that repeat every winter. The area most vulnerable tends to be the camps hosting refugees and displaced Syrian families. Under the guidance of Eng. Ibraheem’s expertise, it was concluded that minimum requirements and basic quality standards must apply to campsite site selection as well as material and construction methods for even simple tent like shelters or other housing accommodations. Basic WASH units and gathering places must be provided to ensure basic human dignity for residents.