What Can We Learn From Nepal Earthquake 2015?
We were all shaken up by the catastrophic Nepal Earthquake 2015. More than 6,00,000 structures in Kathmandu and all over the country were either damaged or destroyed. Some of us have managed to move past it while some of us are still working our way through it. Geographically, Nepal is a prime location for earthquakes. One prominent insight from disasters all over the world, including the recent COVID 19 pandemic, is that natural disasters don’t occur on a country basis, however, the consequences definitely do.
Japan experiences around 5000 earthquakes every year. Of these, 160 are higher than the magnitude of 5. It’s safe to say that what we experienced in the Nepal Earthquake 2015, pales in comparison to the experiences of Japan. They receive something similar 10 times a year. TEN TIMES IN A YEAR, EVERY YEAR. Comparing the overall damage between developed and developing countries, it is many times higher for the latter. Due to the fragile economic system of developing countries, the recovery period is longer and more painful. What we have seen in Nepal during the past 6 years is a living example of this.
The recovery time from disasters for any country will be much faster when the government becomes proactive about these disasters. When the efforts and initiatives from the government become inadequate, the responsibility (and obligation) of recovery falls on the shoulders of its citizen. We, the Nepalese, tend to be swift in criticizing the efforts and initiatives of the government. The case is the same for most problems in our society. We did the same for Nepal Earthquake 2015 too. But there is one simple lesson for all of us here.
“If we want to minimize the damage from earthquakes in the future, we should start building stronger structures.” We must leverage the power of engineering to create better, earthquake-resistant designs. When an earthquake occurs, the foundation of a building is displaced, sending shockwaves throughout the building. This makes it vibrate back and forth. We must make sure we have a safety mechanism in place to combat this. We need to have sound, knowledgeable minds work on the construction. Not just based on a contractor’s mock-up, but on sound floor designs, and properly analyzed structural designs. This is the only way to create better, safer homes and structures in our community and the nation.
Therefore, it is evident that earthquakes aren’t the real culprit, rather it is the weak (and old) structures of Nepali buildings. If we stay in a well-constructed, earthquake-resistant building, we won’t have to worry about damage to our homes and ultimately, save ourselves from a repeat of 2015’s events.
The Urban Space Satdobato is an elite neighborhood of 11 homes. Each of these homes are built with earthquake resistant design and state of the art planning. More than a housing company, the Urban Space is a revolution in the way homes and neighborhoods are being developed in Nepal. If you are interested to know more, here is a short video where our founder shares the bigger vision behind the Urban Space.