The 7.8 earthquake on April 25 left Nepal shattered as more than 8000 people lost their life while more than 18000 people were injured and leaving 2.8 million people without homes. Despite of being at a high risk of earthquakes no preparedness is seen for disaster & risk management .
Another big earthquake of 7.3 magnitude hit the country on may 12. The death toll from 7.3 has risen up above 125, and 2500 injured and counting. Seismic activity is not an unusual for Nepal. The fault line runs below the Mehendra Highway but it has not experienced the such large disaster since the great earth quake of 1934.
In my time here I met people scared of their own houses simply not safe enough for them to return. I met families whose now homes are basic tents shared with friends and neighbours. ”Personally the aftershocks gives me nightmares. I have disaster preparedness kit at the bottom of my storehouse - a first aid box water tinned food a battery and a torch light and so on.” Says a terrified local citizen named Radha Thakuri.”
Me and my friend travel towards the Bhaktapur city it looks like a bomb has been dropped. Homes are ripped apart. We heard stories of survivals and stories of loss. The nearby hospital has been badly damaged and doctors were treating patients outside the hospitals. Rush and screams surrounded the atmosphere making me & my friend realize the situation was being more and more vulnerable.
Since 1934 the population and urban density has increased five and seven fold respectively. While the ancient lake sediments make the Kathmandu valley so attractive to settle, it is also what makes it vulnerable to earthquake magnifying its impact up to eight times .
On these circumstances people need to be aware about the challenges they could face during and after earthquake. The reason why most people died in the epicenter area are the following:
Few training session conducted from government and NGO & INGO level lacked detail analysis. Training conducted before earthquake emphasize key safety major during earthquake as hiding under bed / table, lean between strong pillar / corners near window or door. These safety tips applied by those people who lived in physically weak houses were prone to death. This increases maximum possibility of getting buried alive according to many media in Nepal.
Research and implementation
Building foundation need to be in stable and strong soils. In both cities and villages selection of the land with the best soil is an important engineering decision. But research part in Nepal lacks professionals and often fall under less priority. Thus soil nature of Kathmandu valley and lack of research part contributed to the high losses in the capital with the overall toll crossing 4000.
Before the earthquake many houses in the cities and villages were in need of reconstruction already. Most of the cultural heritage were built in ancient times. Due to delay in the reconstruction steps many houses and heritage fell apart and took the life of many.
The government of Nepal has prepared integrated action plan for post earthquake response and recovery as follows:
- Constructing temporary emergency shelters for the earthquake affected area.
- Classifying the affected population for the ease of providing them with necessary facilities.
- Providing the children their guardian who have lost during the earthquake.
- Making necessary arrangements for providing the affected farmers with free of cost seeds and subsidies for fertilizers. Also exempt the farmers in the affected regions from taxes.