Mon, 12 Apr, 2021

Recent Quake Has Taught Nepalese Significant Lessons

By Ashmita Thapa

prayfornepalThe disastrous earthquake of magnitude 7.8 hit Nepal on Saturday 12th of Baisakh, killed over 8,000 people, injured thousands and even led to a deadly avalanche on the Mount Everest. The high skyscrapers, apartments, buildings, colleges, hospitals, ancient temples and monuments were severely damaged by the earthquake.

We are all aware of the fact that Nepal is an earthquake-prone country; the Asian region experiences some 100,000 minor quakes every year. Yet Nepal, which lies in Asian region and is highly prone to massive earthquakes, lacks building standards and is densely populated in unplanned urban centers and poorly planned towns make the Nepalese people extremely vulnerable to the fallout from tremors.  Although the earthquake had long been predicted, it was neglected by people in Nepal; the earthquake of 25th April could be a wake-up call to the people of Nepal. Also, Nepali citizens ought to have learnt a lot from this devastating natural phenomenon.

The apartments should have been constructed using high quality materials. The builders used cheap materials only to fill their gold storage without thinking about the lives of the people residing there. Some buildings like Imperial Housing, Silvercity, etc. were severely damaged by the earthquake. The owners of the houses construct tall buildings in small areas with no proper foundation, only with the sole purpose of earning money by renting it to other people. This has also been considered as the cause of more deaths, casualties and loss of property in the recent earthquake.

The buildings to be constructed in future must have the agendas like no failure in minor earthquakes, repairable from moderate earthquakes and should not collapse in major earthquakes. This is possible only if the construction of these buildings is done under the seismic designs, strictly following the codes and using high quality materials. The government should also come up with and implement laws related to building construction as strictly as possible. Engineers should work hand in hand with the seismologists during building construction.

In addition to these, people who purchase houses or even rent houses should also learn about its structure and safety before signing any legal document.

The Government of Nepal must now be aware and should take strong steps to repair and reconstruct (if necessary) the monuments and temples which are hundreds or more years old. The monuments and temples are the ornaments of Nepal which mirror the glorious past of our country. So, they must be protected and preserved for the future generations.

Government should also draw their attention towards unplanned urbanization and the buildings which will be constructed in future must be earthquake-resistant. The unplanned urbanization must be controlled or more people will die.

Thousands or more Nepalese will die in the future earthquakes and our country will slide back into poverty instead of flourishing as a developing country if the Government of Nepal and even the international communities do not learn a lesson from the recent massive earthquake.

Good to hear, Government of Nepal has started coming up with some plans regarding the dimension and structure of buildings, approval of blue print of houses based on the requirement of family, availability of open space and road width, and so forth.

Hope all of their plans are logical and get implemented as strictly as possible so that Nepal will not have to bear extensive destruction as it did in the recent quakes.