11-17 January 2013 #638

Thinking the unthinkable


School children on an outing at Swayambhu look down at an overbuilt Valley on Monday. Kathmandu is ranked number one among top 10 cities around the world where a catastrophic earthquake is imminent. An 8.4 magnitude earthquake like the one that struck central Nepal at 2:30 pm on 15 January 1934 will kill at least 100,000 people outright, and three times that number will be injured.

A disaster of that extent was so unthinkable that the government was paralysed into inaction, and didn't know where to start. However, scare tactics, greater awareness, donor pressure, and support seem to be finally yielding results and the government has started a campaign to retrofit schools and hospitals in the Valley.

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