The aftermath of April 25th earthquake has presented numerous challenges. The fact that we live in an earthquake prone area geologically requires new kind of thinking in the way we live and conduct our social and economic activities. Around 9000 peoples lost their life and thousands were injured. Around 5 lakhs houses were totally destroyed and 2.5 were partly damaged. We are on the verge to reconstruct our nation. We need to build back better (BBB). One door policy needs to be maintained for proper management of funds and its equal distribution. Foreign country and organizations are willing to support for the reconstruction. Our requirements must be addressed according to our need, and then only it will be appropriate for us.
Reconstruction after Disaster
This is a disaster but we can take it in a positive way and turn it into an opportunity. I would like to share a story from Mr. Anil Chitrakar. We must have heard about a mega earthquake around 1300 BS where nearly half of the Kathmandu valley was destroyed and several thousand peoples lost their life including king Abhaya Malla. That mega disaster gave us an artist that takes our country’s name to Tibet and China. When that earthquake happens Arniko was 12 years old and as we know that he was involved in making stupa from the age of 16. So probably after that mega earthquake he was involved in reconstruction of the stupa and temples in Nepal. And that experience grooms him and he became a renowned artist. Similarly this time also, nearly 7000 temples and stupas are damaged that needs to be reconstructed. Involvement of our artists with newcomers in this sector can bring great revolution in our wood work and crafting and this doom scenario can be turned into golden era by producing more and more Arnikos.
Landuse plan must be strictly followed. Building code needs to be renewed and implemented. Certification of building must be provided. Not only urban but Semi urban area as well as rural area needs to be planned properly in an eco-friendly way. Rainwater harvesting, solar panels as well as other things are to be taken care of during rebuilding. Knowledge of technicians is must. Landslide zonation map as well as earthquake hazard map should be consulted before building any type of infrastructure. Alternatives infrastructures must be constructed that may be helpful in upcoming disasters. Airport and highway is the dire need of the nation.
Rebuilding of nation should be done under monitoring of government. Monitoring must be done from planning to implementation phase. We are talking about resettlement of the victims. We must keep in mind about sustainable cultural values. Citizens from hills should not be resettled to Terai and vice versa. Resettlement needs to be done in same district. We must use local product for the reconstruction of the nation. If we are importing goods to reconstruct building and infrastructures it will flow cash to other nation. This won’t be better for our economy. We must make better use of local available materials. Post disaster management works should be locally led, as local knows what the community needs and what can be done. Local knowledge is needed because the technology of foreign country might not suit directly to our community. These resources can help us carry out sustainable rehabilitation and reconstruction at low cost. We need help from foreign donors but the reconstruction must be according to our values, social cultures and needs. I guess nobody needs our country to be called as “made in china”. Feelings of ownness and emotional attachment can only be maintained through involvement of our resorces and manpowers.
Reviving the economy, financing reconstruction and promoting growth
While ensuring human security and human development is of utmost importance, both these aspects require financing which clearly is based on having a robust economy that can support the expenses to be made for post disaster management. Similarly, such disaster earthquake can be turned into opportunities for reform (as it was done in Gujrat, India) therefore, financing reconstruction, reviving the economy and promoting growth needs a simultaneous strategies
Now, the time is to think of our economy. Our economy is based on agriculture, tourism, industry and remittance. Talking about agriculture, we should make survivors independent and self sustained. Its better to teach them how to fish rather than providing fish to eat. if we are not going to plant crops in this monsoon then we have to import it. If we are doing so then we are being dependent and that’s not good at all. If our farms stay barren this season then it is going to cost a long term effect.
Nearly all the international medias are showing that Nepal is totally ruined. But this is not the reality and we need to make them aware of that. We can invite renowned celebrities to visit our nation. That will attract international medias and ultimately we can take benefit from it. We can give a positive message and can promote tourism and make them aware that Nepal is still standing. This time we need a brand to promote our tourism after the earthquake. It can be Great Himalaya trail. It is trekking route along high hills of Nepal which is about 800km long. It touches every area of the high hills. If we are branding this route, tourists would come to visit and tourism will create employment that leads to overall development in those areas of Nepal.
Tourists are fond of nepali culture and architecture. We can turn this destruction into opportunity. We are going to reconstruct our monuments and we can charge tourists to observe them. Similarly while most of our monuments are damaged we can charge them to visit that particular area even more than the usual charge.
Most of international medias are showing the destruction of Kathmandu. Now what we need to show them that only Kathmandu is not Nepal. We have many more destinations other than that. In this context we can find many more unexplored part of Nepal. New destinations will make people rise and grow. It will provide opportunity for every citizen over there to earn money.
We can’t ignore industry and private sectors. They need support. Governments should help the industry by providing financial support. It would be great help to them if we can provide some facilities in their loans.
We must rebuild country that will cope with all kinds of disasters that is earthquake, floods, landslides and others. An independent authority needs to be established to look after disasters. Nature doesn’t needs us we need nature. So we must build our nation nature friendly. We can rise above rubble and bounce back. Let’s rebuild Nepal in a smart way so that we can meet our total development goal that is to be a developing country by 2022.