Nepali Times
Haiti here

BEFORE AND AFTER: Patan's Darbar Square in 1934 after a magnitutde 8.3 earthquake levelled it, and on Wednesday at noon (bottom). January 16 is Earthquake Safety Day in Nepal, and experts say a similar earthquake today would destroy up to 70 per cent of the Valley's buildings and kill upwards of 300,000 people.


If the pictures of Haiti's wrecked presidential palace remind us how futile human endeavours are in the face of nature's brute force, it won't be the first time. The earthquake of 1934 caused similar damage to the Kathmandu Valley, and the relatively low number of casualties (by today's standards) shouldn't deceive us into thinking our capital will get off with anywhere near the level of punishment. As we remember the victims of the Haitian quake in the run-up to Earthquake Safety Day on Jan 16, we'd do well to assess our own risk and consider how we can prepare for the inevitable.

Do or die - FROM ISSUE #485 (15 JAN 2010 - 21 JAN 2010)

1. Bhushan
Earthquake in Nepal - Unimaginable consequences ! This is one of the nightmares i have on a regular basis and sends chills down the spine every time. Although i am not in living in the country, the very thought and reminder of the word 'earthquake' scares me to death as i think about the loved ones that still live and remain in Nepal. If the recent 'Haiti' happens in Nepal, my god, the consequences, the aftermath will be simply incomprehensible ! The sad part it, in this ongoing climate of political chaos and uncertainty, does anybody even has time and interest to think about this topic? I guess not. Without sounding too pessimistic, I resign to the fact that sooner or later we shall have to face the inevitable. I'm not sure much of Kathmandu will still remain standing if we do experience a 'Haiti' there. Apart from the immediate impact (which will be catastrophic no doubt), I am more concerned about the aftermath. Because just like Haiti, we probably are equally ill-prepared, ill-equipped to deal with the situation. PASHUPATINATH LE HAMI SABAI KO KALYAN GARUN !

2. Pralhad
There is danger of Haiti in Kathmandu valley due to the weak geological condition of Kathmandu and tectonic movement between the Indian and Eurasian plates. It would be wrong without saying name of expert to say blindly about the damage level of 70% though it is true that given the poor building constrution standards, implementation in the field as per design and retrofit of existing old buildings there is high damage probability. JICA study has already recommended the things to be done. In the country where only politics matters, this has not get good attention. The comprehensive disaster act has not been enacted though the draft has been given to the govt in 2006. We have to more proactive in this case for the goodness. By the way who is the copyright holder of the 1934 photo and without giving courtsey to the photographer can we use ? Similar questions were asked in several situations. Please clarify Thanks Pralhad JAPAN

3. Prem
It is not question of 'if', it is just a matter of 'when'. There will be a devastating earthquake in Nepal and the consequence will be horrendous, unimaginable. Post-quake casualties would be much higher as we are not well equipped with Search-And-Rescue (SAR) operations. We have no equipment and trained personnel. The example of Haiti as one of poorest nations is a wake up call for us as one of the poorest nations in thw world. We will also have to rely on international support and we have seen now the example of Haiti how difficult it would be to get international support in time. Prachanda and Baburam, think on it. You do not need to kill ten lakh people to capture the state power. Pray your Mao Tse Tung to send us devastating earthquake so that you have all Nepalis die and you capture the power over all our dead bodies. Pashupati Nath bless Nepal and Nepalis, as long as the Maoists idiots allow us to oray our almighty.

4. Mero Desh
When I saw the devastation in Haiti, the first thing that came to my mind is the grim situation if the same kind of earthquake is to strike the heart of Nepal. What would happen to Kathmandu is beyond our wildest dreams, and don't even want to say anything. My heard and mind would cringe just to even think about the destruction and chaos. Another fact that is so discomforting is that we or anybody else won't be able to do anything as Kathmandu is already chaotic and nothing is there is place to handle that catastrophe. Also we won't be able to put one in place if we want to because of the population density in Kathmandu and haphazard erection of concrete building. In short its difficult to do anything in a concrete jungle. PASHUPATINATH LE HAMI SABAI LAI RAKSHYA GARUN, I think PASHUPATHNATH can only save us.

5. Kalyan Garun
A sad state affairs, but unfortunately true. What if the next big one strikes when your are visiting your good folks in Kathmandu - hope NOT!

6. Kalyan Garun
A sad state of affairs, but unfotunately true. What if the next big one strikes when you are visiting your good folks in Kathmandu - hope NOT!

7. dallu
Top Ten Most Earthquake Damage Prone Cities Kathmandu is #1

8. raj Khadka Doti Siladhi
Civil society ( including ngos and media) should mount pressure upon local government ( let's not expect everything from Singadharbar) to prepare for the possible natural disaster's destruction and casulties. New construction code should be strictly implemented for new building and infrastructure constructions. In every neighbourhood, Red Cross Society should run trainning for neighbourhood residents on emergency rescue and first aid. There us urency of some critical thinking and acting, so let's begin today. Otherwise we might have to face the Hait's catasthrope.

9. pwelsa
who has time among the so-called leaders to pay attention to such critical issues .. they are too busy with dividing the country as in re-painting an old car in the name of republicanism even though none of them know how to drive it.

10. mags
Raj Khadka, NGO's have been working for years trying to impress upon the nepal govt. the need for earthquake preparedness. their pless as to the urgency of this have fallen on deaf ears. I take comfort in knowing that at least Lalitpur has heeded the advice and is strictly enforcing building codes now. On top of the buildings which will collapse due to shoddy construction (with no thought for engineering, only building as quickly as possible at the lowest cost), the city has tiny alleyways which you call streets, which can barely squeeze cars through, let alone emergency vehicles. There are almost no large scale open areas (again due to poor city planning) other than Ratna Park. Most hospitals would collapse. The runway would most likely be several damaged, as would roads into the city. At the very least, every effort should be made to earthquake retrofit the hospitals and schools in the Kathmandu Valley immediately. The Nepali Times, by the way, has covered this story many times (just look through their archives) but no one seems to pay heed. Sad that it takes a massive earthquake like Haiti for people to wake up, and today is Earthquake Awareness Day in Nepal. How ironic.

11. Prem
We all know that the impact of an earthquake disaster in Nepal even upto 7.0 in Richter Scale would be devastating. As rightly pointed out above in one of the messages, rescue operation becomes impossible in thos 4-5 storied buildings built across the alleyways (Gallis) of 4 feet. The death toll in Kathmandu would easily reach 300,000 and it would be possibly the worst natural disaster in the modern history of mankind; even much worse than Haiti. NGOs and professionals have been raising this issue for long, at least for more than 10 years, however less attention is paid. What can we expect from these corrupt politicians and bureaucrats for whom money is the only goal in life? Friends, this is the time that we think on national interests. We have seen the example of a failed state like Haiti. Do we want to follow the footsteps of Haiti or do we want to build a strong and prosperous nation with functioning institutions so that such events can be handled properly? Are the 3 Nepali Idiots (Prachand, Girija and Madhav) listening?

12. haribhakta katuwal
Can you do a feature on how the Nepali peace-keepers are helping on the situation and how their effect has been?

13. Sonam Rumba
Haiti like situation in Kathmandu, it is horrifying to think about. When I use to walk in the narrow streets of Ason and Indra Chowk, I suddenly think, what if earthquake strikes at that very moment? no ways to escape just to pray and think of departing from this life! It is very sad to find how the rule of the laws, and legalities are controlled and restricted. Realistically, these are not put into real practice, for the concerned government officials and employees on these post, all these law of rule and new restrictions becomes their new tool of taking bribes i.e. when it comes to emission free vehicle, one needs to pass emission test to get the green sticker, but it is Rs-500 to 1000, it doesn't matters either your vehicle is emits polluting air or not, green sticker is only available upon paying the bribes, so is the case of building codes and standards to be maintained in every construction, all these rules and restrictions are on sale. Now imagine how many safe buildings and bridges that can withstand with the strong earthquake? Only Praying and Precautions are two options left to practice! Down with all the corrupt rulers and politicians of Nepal!

14. NotKTM
Is Nepal all about Kathmandu only?

15. jange
Surely making a new constitution and getting rid of the monarchy are far more important than preparing for an earthquake that may or may not happen.

16. Sujan
Haiti a tragic situation, sad to see people in tears and pain.... What can we do from here but to pray, for it never happens again.... Finally world united to help the people in need, prayer for the organizations dedicated to save the humanity at the time of sorrow...... We too should initiate for a well managed rescue team... our politicians need to have a little time to think on this matter....

17. Nepali Abroad
I think we should not rely on politicians to do anything for the nation...they are just a bunch of useless jokers. One of the things that struck my mind is why don't we collectively appeal to the United Nations (UN) and warn them of the impending disaster if something like Haiti were to occur in Nepal. I'm sure UN would be interested to come up with some preventive measures and also coerce Nepal government to take concrete steps to minimize the impact. I understand there are many NGOs who have researched and studied the impact of earthquake for Nepal and i am certain they may have also submitted reports to UN and other global agencies. What i am not sure is whether this has been done in a collective manner...for example a collective appeal from the entire nation. A collective cry for help and attention from Nepal. Just one of the thoughts but bottomline is - we ought to do something about this and not just cross our hands and resign to fate (and Pashupatinath). I think this is the time for all Nepali people to really wake up and do something. Someone who is good at creating websites should create one called "" !! B

18. Mero Desh
After giving a very hard thought on what can be done to minimize the impact of Haiti like catastrophe in Nepal, as I commented on earlier comment, I just felt like crying because I couldn't come up with any ideas on what could be done to lessen the impact. Sorry to sound pessimistic but if you look at the practical consideration, do we see any place big enough and secure from falling debris anywhere in Kathmandu other then one and only TUDIKHEL ? I don't see any and with the concrete jungle to navigate though coupled with very poor building construction practices and tall buildings the situation looks very grim. I think we have go far enough down the road of black hole with no return. At the individual level everybody realizes the danger, I guess we have been doing that for years, but at the collective level we don't seem to care. Also all the Nepalese imagined Nepal when they saw Haiti's disaster and everybody is just "HOPING FOR THE BEST" but ignoring "THE IMPORTANT PART PREPARING FOR THE WORST ". JAI NEPAL AND PASHUPATI NATH.

19. Mero Desh
After the disaster girija prasad koirala will be the prime minister and the president of the destroyed Nepal, sujata koirala will be the finance minster and puspa kamal dahal will start a new revolution from the what ever is left afterward.

20. Arthur
jange, the old system you defend in comment 15 is what has made the situation continue to get worse despite knowing the consequences since 1934. Sensible measures like those in comment 8 from raj Khadka Doti Siladhi will not be taken while that system continues as described in comment 13 from Sonam Rumba. As long as people continue to think like "Nepali Abroad" in number 17 and think "action" means submitting reports making collective appeals for somebody else to act instead of actually taking power to act and then acting, the situation will continue.

21. Nepal ama ko choro should be started to converge, discuss, collaborate and possible come up with some conclusion how we can leverage on the collective concern and fear we have for our beloved nation...everyone should contribute wherever they are !

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)