Hetauda, July 12:
A small and ordinary-looking building at the Shramik High School in the Karra area has become an inspiration for disaster risk reduction initiatives in the fast-growing Hetauda Municipality, where around 500 houses are built every year.
“After looking at the building we have come to believe that earthquake-resistance technology is not complex,” said Sambhu Dhakal, a student at Shramik.
“Our parents should follow this model while building houses,” Dhakal said.
At Rs 6.5 lakh, the building cost only five per cent more than ordinary load-bearing houses, but it can resist an earthquake as strong as 6.5 on the Richter scale. The building was constructed on the initiative of the Community Based Management Group with the support of the United Nations Development Programme, the Hetauda District Development Committee, the Hetauda Municipality and the school management committee.
The National Society for Earthquakes and Technology also provided technical help.
“The building itself may not be that important,” said Rajendra Karki, chairman of the CBMG Hetauda, “but the message this symbolic building is giving is significant.
It has been a source of inspiration for the whole city.” “As a demonstration project, we chose this school because the school has a vulnerable community building. Besides, it could spread good message all over the city through the new generation,” said Karki.
A civil engineer at the Hetauda Municipality, Satya Narayan Sah, said after construction of the school building, people started visiting the municipality with queries about the earthquake resistant technologies and begun a trend of constructing new buildings like it. “Most of new load-bearing houses have been built by adopting this technology,” he added.
According to Karki, disaster risk-reduction technologies are not expensive but people know little about them.
Most part of the country is seismically active, seismologists say, adding that major earthquake jolts Nepal every 70 years. The 8.4 earthquake of 1934 AD claimed 16,875 lives and destroyed 3,18,139 houses. Earthquakes in 1980 and 1988 AD killed around 178 and 721 people, respectively, beside damaging property and infrastructure.
[KATHMANDU, JULY 13, 2008, Ashadh 29, 2065 ]