9-15 January 2015 #740

Tottering future


Next week, Nepal will mark the 80th anniversary of the Great Earthquake that killed at least 17,000 people. On a sunny winter afternoon of 15 January 1934, the earth shook violently, destroying many brick houses, temples and monuments in Kathmandu. Two of King Tribhuvan’s daughters were killed when the palace collapsed, 22 people inside an eatery in Patan were crushed. Water and sand shot out of the ground like geysers. Liquefaction caused the Bagmati to flood as if it was in a monsoon spate. Some children who had narrow escapes are now senior citizens, like Bhuyau Maharjan. But the building behind him shows we have not learnt our lessons from 1934.