Photo: Patan Durbar Square post-earthquake
In response to the M7.6 Nepal Earthquake event, the Earthquakes and Megacities Initiative (EMI) conducted a Field Mission in Kathmandu, Nepal from June 13-20, 2015. During this mission, the EMI researchers met with various stakeholders involved in the post-disaster recovery of the country, including individuals from the ministries of the Government of Nepal (GoN), an advisor for the National Planning Commission (NPC), representatives of the municipalities of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), Bhaktapur and Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City and focal persons of International Humanitarian Organizations (IHO), to look into the institutional arrangements of the various stakeholders of the country, in relation to the response and recovery plans and activities for the disaster. This field visit also studied Build Back Better projections for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the affected areas.
The team also met with a pool of researchers from CEDIM, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) that looked into the shelter decisions of displaced populations and the vulnerability of displaced populations.
Photo: A structure in Patan Durbar Square is supported by wooden bars to prevent it from collapsing
Being one of the most vulnerable countries to natural hazards, Nepal has made substantial investments in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in recent years like defining a National Strategy for DRR, developing a National Response Framework, acquiring a National Emergency Operation Center, retrofitting 160 schools in Kathmandu Valley, raising awareness among others. Different government-led and donor funded projects such as the UNDP’s Comprehensive Disaster Risk Program and the Nepal Risk Reduction Consortium (NRRC) have been implemented with the goal of scaling up the capacity of the different stakeholders such as the government, local communities and sector specific partners. In the wake of the April 25 earthquake event, looking at the different response aspects of various stakeholders will give insight to the efficiency of the systems in posture, identify good practices in managing disasters, and assess the current frameworks and strategies used by the country.
Photo: Buildings in the city of Bhaktapur post-earthquake
Two months after the disaster, Nepal is starting to rebuild the stricken areas. The pictures show the damages that the earthquake brought to the cultural and historical sites of the country. It should be noted that the core areas, composed of Heritage sites like the Durbar Squares and their old neighbouring buildings (residential and market), belonging to the different Municipalities of the Kathmandu Valley were strongly affected by the earthquake and some are already cleaned-up and open to tourists. Most of the damages were manifested in the old structures and tall buildings inside the valley. In Kathmandu, life is almost back to normal with most government offices functioning, shops and tourist areas open, and electricity and water services fully operational but still some people remain displaced and in need of assistance.
A report aiming to document and relate observations made on GoN’s response will be published soon.