GHI’s staff is comprised of experienced professionals with diverse backgrounds, including earthquake science, engineering, medicine, law, communications, finance and international development.
Regional Coordinator for South Asia
Dr. Hari Kumar is a civil engineer with more than 34 years of experience in the field of safe shelter, disaster risk management and earthquake risk reduction. As the Regional Coordinator for South Asia, he is responsible for GHI’s work in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar. These include several programs that built the capacities of engineers and builders to assess and improve disaster-resilient construction; assisted policymakers in implementing new strategies that reduce disaster risk; improved ability of health facilities to function post-disaster; trained healthcare facilities staff members for mass casualty response; helped schools take steps to ensure the safety of children, and explained to communities the science behind their risk and what they can do to reduce it.
For example, Dr. Kumar coordinated the pilot seismic retrofitting project for Lifeline buildings in India, the Delhi Earthquake Safety Initiative for Lifeline Buildings, which developed engineers’ capacities to assess and improve earthquake resistance in complex buildings. In Aizawl, Mizoram, he coordinated a comprehensive approach to address extreme landslide and earthquake risk, and this work has been taken forward by the Government. In Nepal, he coordinated evidence-based planning, using realistic and detailed scenarios, that brought together diverse leaders who prioritized specific actions to make their communities safer.
In his prior positions, he conceptualized and managed earthquake risk reduction projects for Government of India and the United Nations Development Programme, including the Urban Earthquake Vulnerability Reduction Programme (UEVRP), the Capacity Building programmes for engineers (NPCBEERM) and Architects (NPCBAERM). He developed training manuals and implemented extensive training for engineers and masons to build safer in cyclone, flood and earthquake-prone areas.
Dr. Kumar serves on the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Task Force for Formulation of National Landslide Risk Management Strategy and the project technical committee for finalization of the Earthquake Disaster Risk Index for Zone IV and V areas. He has served on NDMA core groups for the National School Safety Guidelines and for the National Hospital Safety Guidelines. The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute included Dr. Kumar for its reconnaissance team following the 2015 Nepal Earthquake, for which his focus was the status of health facilities and schools. He had earlier participated in the NDMA reconnaissance team following the 2013 Doda earthquake. Dr. Kumar holds a Ph. D. in Risk Mitigation Planning from the Indian Institute of Science and Technology, Kolkata; an M.B.A. in Disaster Management from GGSIP University, Delhi; and a B.Tech in Civil Engineering from Manipal Institute of Technology.