Earthquake in Nepal

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:

Information flow

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.

Reconstruction process

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.

Made some revisions

Hello and thanks for the contribution! I took the liberty to make some (mostly grammar) revisions to the text.

I would like to know on what basis the criticism of “hiding under the table or bed” rests. You you know about research that can back that up?

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weak structures collapsing over weaker ones

I guess what @nisha is pointing to is that where the structures were strong, hiding under the bed would be a safe choice but if the structure of the house itself is weak (which was the case with many old houses) then it only ended up trapping the person or even killing them in the enclosed space. I am not sure if there have been any cases reported under such circumstances though. Will have to see about that.


And another story ­… spreading a rumour :wink:

By anecdote, I heard that some people in the villages would run into their houses to hide under the table, when they were surprised by the earthquake outdoors. And then some houses would collapse, which they did easily in the villages. This behaviour breakdown was attributed to the simplistic nature of earthquake drills in schools etc…

However, I have no idea anymore who told me that, or if it is true after all. So, just a rumour. But, if somebody wants to dig into it …

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Triangle of life and other falacies

If you are not able to leave, run to the door frame or hide under your desk. This is what I was taught in elementary school. When I was living in Lima was a common procedure at home, since it is always said that more people are injured form stuff falling in their heads (shelves, cabinets, lamps). When the shake got longer than expected we would run out to the backyard and some of us would shut the electricity off.

But things changed, in schools now they teach you to leave out, and drills are done city-wide (my last was last year). Safe areas are identified with circles in the streets; and if going out is not an option, the strongest structural elements are identified with a symbol ( There is an area called the “triangle of life” that is the space that would remain void between the vertical element and a failed beam.

The misconception is that not all desks, door frames or columns can perform as life saver; and in the designated ones, we are in front of a lot of assumptions as they were identified a posteriori.

In Bucharest buildings has a bid red dot tells you how safe you are in case of a seismic event.  You cannot say it’s not a creative idea. I love it, and as a budget travel you know where  to find good deals (Risky cities: red equals danger in Bucharest, Europe's earthquake capital | Cities | The Guardian).

In Los Angeles I was asked first to go under my desk, it was designed purposely to stand major earthquakes. It’s also the protocol in case an action shooter breaks in. Pretty scary, but in America chances for being shot are high.


Informative Indeed!

This piece of information I find very interesting. Since I read @nisha's article, I was looking for more information on what actually could work in case of Nepal. We have weak structures (some of which still stand) and they are tall making escape difficult in case of extreme situations. Also, I work in the eighth floor of a building which is standing (strong, I hope). So, your information surely helped me. Thanks!


Thank you !! :slight_smile:

Well certainly! this piece of information could have been more informative and better.My apology…

Though thank you all for sharing your views that did expand my knowledge.

My pleasure

as aforementioned above