Dr Muralee Thummarukudy, PhD

Dr Muralee Thummarukudy is the Chief of Disaster Risk Reduction at UNEP.

Muralee has more than 20 years of experience in environmental and disaster management and has advised governments around the world on post-disaster recovery issues.

Between 1995-2003, Muralee was a Corporate Advisor to oil companies in South East Asia and the Middle East, dealing with oil industry-related emergencies. He has handled offshore oil spills, on shore blow outs, oil well fires and clean-up of oil field contamination.

Since joining UNEP’s Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch in 2003, he has been involved in responses to the major recent natural disasters of the 21st century, ranging from the South-East Asian Tsunami in 2004 to the 2011 floods in Thailand.

In 2008, following the devastating earthquake in Sichuan, China, Muralee coordinated a series of training and capacity building events for national officials on disaster waste management. In 2010, Muralee was deployed to Haiti to help deal with the massive volumes of disaster debris generated by another major earthquake, and the associated collapse of waste management infrastructure and systems.

Muralee led UNEP’s International Expert Team to Japan to coincide with the first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2012. In May 2011, he was part of a team of international experts who were invited to Japan by the Asia Disaster Preparedness Center to join a field visit to the tsunami-impacted areas.

Muralee holds a PhD in Environmental Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology. He is an Alumni of the United Nations University and a Beahers fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.



Marisol Estrella

Marisol Estrella is currently the Programme Coordinator of the Disaster Risk Reduction pillar at the Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Ms Estrella is based in Switzerland, where she has been working for the past five years.

She carries out field projects and undertakes capacity building, policy advocacy and partnerships development. She is responsible for overall project coordination and implementation under the disaster risk reduction programme. Ms Estrella has previous field experience in community-based disaster risk management and local governance and has worked in the Philippines, East Timor, Jamaica, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

She has expertise in vulnerability assessments, participatory methodologies and ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction. She has worked with local NGOs in the Philippines and consulted with the Asian Development Bank, Oxfam, GTZ and the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University.

Ms Estrella has a Master’s degree in Environment, Development and Policy from the University of Sussex (UK), where she earned a Distinction, and a Bachelor Honours degree in Applied Anthropology and Environmental Studies from the University of McGill (Canada).