Pondering Nepal’s hazards

by David L. Hagen

Nepal just experienced a great 7.8 magnitude earthquake  on April 25th, 2015 with major (6.7 and 6.6 magnitude) aftershocks..

See: Major earthquake hits Nepal: Alexandra Witze, Nature News, 26 April 2015, doi:10.1038/nature.2015.17413

Scientists have long warned that mounting seismic stress put region near Kathmandu at risk for a severe tremor. . . .A magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit just 80 kilometres northwest of Kathmandu on 25 April, crumbling buildings and devastating much of the city. The ground shook well beyond Nepal’s borders, into Tibet and northern India, in one of the worst natural disasters to strike the Himalayas in years; thousands of people are feared dead.

Already More than 2500 are confirmed dead, with more expected. See USGS Nepal Shakemap; Community Internet Intensity Map; and Impact – Estimated Fatalities & Economic Loses

Now the Nepal Earthquake Poses Challenge to International Aid Agencies
At least another 5900 have been injured. About 6 million live in the earthquake affected region. The transportation network is crippled and power is lost in parts of the country. Rain descended on Kathmandu Sunday in a foretaste of the summer monsoon rains starting in June.

Historical and Predicted Earthquakes in Nepal

The South Asian subcontinent is colliding with Asia, creating the Himalayan mountains. This causes frequent large earthquakes as well as numerous smaller ones.

1934 Nepal-Bihar Earthquake
An 8.2 magnitude earthquake occurred in Nepal and northern Bihar on 15 January 1934. with about 19,000 deaths (7,253 died in Bihar plus 10,800 to 12,000 deaths in Nepal). See publications on the 1934 Nepal earthquake.

Nepal Earthquake Studies & Reports
‘Great quake overdue’: A study had warned just two months ago

Less than two months before the 7.9-magnitude earthquake that rocked Nepal and a vast swathe of northern India on Saturday, a team of Indian scientists had predicted “a great earthquake” in the geographical region around the central Himalayas.

Medieval pulse of great earthquakes in the central Himalaya: Viewing past activities on the frontal thrust, C. P. Rajendran, Biju John, & Kusala Rajendran, J. Geophysical Research, Solid Earth V. 120 #3 March 2015 pp 1623-1641

The Himalaya has experienced three great earthquakes during the last century—1934 Nepal-Bihar, 1950 Upper Assam, and arguably the 1905 Kangra. Focus here is on the central Himalayan segment between the 1905 and the 1934 ruptures, where previous studies have identified a great earthquake between thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. Historical data suggest damaging earthquakes in A.D. 1255, 1344, 1505, 1803, and 1833, although their sources and magnitudes remain debated. We present new evidence for a great earthquake from a trench across the base of a 13 m high scarp near Ramnagar at the Himalayan Frontal Thrust. The section exposed four south verging fault strands and a backthrust offsetting a broad spectrum of lithounits, including colluvial deposits. Age data suggest that the last great earthquake in the central Himalaya most likely occurred between A.D. 1259 and 1433. While evidence for this rupture is unmistakable, the stratigraphic clues imply an earlier event, which can most tentatively be placed between A.D. 1050 and 1250. The postulated existence of this earlier event, however, requires further validation. If the two-earthquake scenario is realistic, then the successive ruptures may have occurred in close intervals and were sourced on adjacent segments that overlapped at the trench site. Rupture(s) identified in the trench closely correlate with two damaging earthquakes of 1255 and 1344 reported from Nepal. The present study suggests that the frontal thrust in central Himalaya may have remained seismically inactive during the last ~700 years. Considering this long elapsed time, a great earthquake may be due in the region.


The heavy South Asian 2014 Monsoon rains were reported as: Climate Change’s Role in Indian Pilgrim Deaths

Floods and landslides tore vulnerable buildings and villages from their feeble riverside roots, flushing their ramshackle remains downstream. They left an estimated 100,000 without shelter or food, in many cases for more than 10 frigid and soggy days, and stole away the lives of more than 5,000 of them. . . .
“The Stanford University-led research unearthed tenuous links between the tragedy and rising green house gas levels. Perhaps more strikingly, however, the paper helped to illuminate the institutionalized vulnerability of vast swaths of mountainous Asia — where tens of millions of humble-living residents contribute little to global warming — to the vagaries of a climate that’s increasingly prone to turn vicious.

Emergency and Earthquake Preparedness in Nepal

Quake experts: Nepal “A Nightmare Waiting to Happen”. This 2015 Nepal quake is the 5th significant quake in the last 205 years, including the massive 1934 quake. Just a week before Nepal’s earthquake, 50 experts gathered in Kathmandu to prepare for what they knew was coming – but did not know when. Kathmandu was very congested, overdeveloped and shoddily built. How should they prepare for “the big one” like the 1934 earthquake that flattened Kathmandu?

Earthquakes Without Frontiers reports that gobally between 2 and 2.5 million people have died in earthquakes since 1900. EWF seeks to:

To provide transformational increases in knowledge of the distributions of primary and secondary earthquake hazards in the continental interiors.
• To identify pathways to increased resilience in the populations exposed to these hazards.
• To secure these gains over the long term by establishing a well-networked, trans-disciplinary partnership for increasing resilience to earthquakes.

EWF has a Nepal and northern India project. EWF seismologist James Jackson, U. Cambridge, summarized “Physically and geologically what happened is exactly what we thought would happen.”

On April 12th, Hari Kumar of GeoHazards International updated a late 1990s report summarizing the Kathmandu Valley risks:

“With an annual population growth rate of 6.5 percent and one of the highest urban densities in the world, the 1.5 million people living in the Kathmandu Valley were clearly facing a serious and growing earthquake risk,”

Poverty and Building codes

Grinding poverty is the most pressing issue for most people. Nepal has a per capita GNI of ~$750 about the lowest in South Asia. Except for landslides, which in this case are a serious problem, Jackson said “it’s buildings that kill people not earthquakes.” Poverty and poor (or no) building codes amplify damage during earthquakes and other disasters by several orders of magnitude. USGS seismologist David Wald said:

the same level of severe shaking would cause 10 to 30 people to die per million residents in California, but 1,000 maybe more in Nepal, and up to 10,000 in parts of Pakistan, India, Iran and China

Most Nepalese buildings were built with no building codes and little regard for earthquakes. Nepal’s civil war further impacted planning. Kathmandu’s old city had very weak medieval brick construction with lanes too narrow for emergency vehicles or construction equipment. Even current codes are weak and do not redress past construction.

“In the 1988 Nepal earthquake, the destruction of 14,000 classrooms was significant, but more so was the fact that 300,000 children couldn’t go to school for years afterwards. When an earthquake destroys schools, it takes away the children’s future —and with it, the future of the country itself.”

Madhab Mathema, Former Senior Human Settlements Advisor, United Nations Center for Human Settlements
Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City (LSMC) “announced the implementation of Nepal National Building Code (NBC) in building permit process on the occasion of Earthquake Safety Day on 16th January, 2003.”

The UN Center for Regional Development helps countries develop building codes for earthquake preparedness. including a Housing Earthquake Safety Initiative 2007. e.g., UNCRD published a Handbook on Building Code Implementation: Learning from Experience of Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City, Nepal Jan. 16, 2008

Nepal’s local inheritance rights results in buildings split vertically to give equal share as to brothers. This causes thin rickety homes with more floors added for living space. Both social reform and building codes are needed to redress this distortion from prudent planning and earthquake preparedness.

Earthquake Landslides

Secondary effects typically contribute 21.5% of earthquake fatalities. e.g., Marano, K.D., Global earthquake casualties due to secondary effects: a quantitative analysis for improving rapid loss analyses Nat Hazards (2010) 52:319–328, DOI 10.1007/s11069-009-9372-5 [link]

Earthquakes often cause landslides in mountaineous areas. Tom Robinson (U. Cantebury, New Zealand) developed a landslide susceptibility pattern that has been updated on 26 April 2015 from the USGS ShakeMap. Such mapping can help people prepare for landslides, and to rapidly direct rescue workers to the worst effect areas. e.g., Nepal’s 2015 earthquake may cause ~ 30 sq km of landslides compared to the 396 sq km for the Mw 7.9 Wenchuan earthquake in China. The Wenchuan earthquake caused some 20,000 deaths. Yin, Y. et al. Landslide hazards triggered by the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, Sichuan, China Landslides, June 2009, Vol. 6, #2, pp 139-152. A simple extrapolation of landslide are might suggest about 1,500 landslide deaths in Nepal.

Monsoon Landslides

Heavy monsoon rains often cause landslides. Dahal, R.K. & Hasegawa, S., Representative rainfall thresholds for landslides in the Nepal Himalaya”, Geomorphology 100 (2008) 429-443. e.g., Darjeeling India, in the Himalayan foothills (6710 ft) lies ~80 miles SE of Mt. Everest. It averages ~ 3092 mm (122”) of rain/year. An average summer monsoon rainfall of 2489.08 mm (98”) occurs between the 2nd week of May and the 3rd week of October. Tropical cyclones or depressions from the Bay of Bengal to the Himalayan mountains cause heavier sustained rains. When these occur on top of saturated ground at the end of the summer monsoon they can cause severe landslides. e.g.

. . .a disastrous landslip occurred on the 24th September, 1899, in and around Darjiling town due to unprecedented rainfall of 1065.50 mm (42”), killing 72 persons . . .

In October 1968 a tropical depression reportedly dropped 23” of rain in 36 hours, causing some 20,000 landslides.

Due to incessant and heavy rain of 1121.40 mm (~44”) between 3rd and 5th October, 1968 there were numerous landslides accompanied by unprecedented floods in the Tista and other rivers. (2 roads and more than 3 bridges ) were either washed away or severely damaged. The death-toll, officially estimated was 677 while unofficial reports placed the figure much higher. . .

Basu, S.R., & De, S.K., “Causes and Consequences of landslides in the Darjiling-Sikkim Himalayas, India”, Geographia Polonica, 76, 2, 37-52, Autumn 2003, PL ISSN 0016-7282.

Floods from landslide dams

Earthquake and monsoon caused landslides can temporarily dam rivers. This causes a severe torrential flood when the water breaks through, destroying downstream towns.

Combined Hazards

An earthquake hitting saturated Himalayan hills would likely cause far greater havoc than similar earthquakes in dry areas. (e.g., near the end of the summer monsoon in eastern Nepal/Darjeeling region compared to during the dry season in the western Himalayas.) Medium range weather forecasting could warn regional, national and international emergency response organizations of such potential hazards. Hasegawa, S. et al., Causes of large-scale landslides in the Lesser Himalaya of central Nepal, Environ. Geol. DOI 10.1007/s00254-008-1420-z.

Deforestation & Flooding

Nepal deforestation and climate change have been posited for enhancing downstream flooding such as in Bangladesh. Peak flows can be affected by changes in land use and land cover.
Nepal, S. et al., Upstream-downstream linkages of hydrological processes in the Himalayan region. Ecological Processes, Springer, 9 Sept. 2014 DOI 10.1186/s13717-014-0019-4

The paper studies the linkages between the changes in the physical environment of upstream areas (land use, snow storage, and soil erosion) and of climate change on the downstream water availability, flood and dry season flow, and erosion and sedimentation. It is argued that these linkages are complex due to the extreme altitudinal range associated with the young and fragile geology, extreme seasonal and spatial variation in rainfall, and diversity of anthropogenic processes.

Indoor and Outdoor Air pollution

While dramatic, catastrophic earthquakes and floods should be evaluated in context of slower but even deadlier air pollution. The World Health Organization (2014) reports that:

in 2012 around 7 million people died – on in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. . . . air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk.  WHO Fact Sheet No. 292 March 2014.

  • Around 3 billion people cook and heat their homes using open fires and simple stoves burning biomass (wood, animal dung and crop waste) and coal.
  • Over 4 million people die prematurely from illness attributable to the household air pollution from cooking with solid fuels.

Burden of disease from Household Air Pollution for 2012 WHO 2014.
Globally, each year two to three times as many people die as in ALL earthquakes since 1900.

Severe outdoor air pollution is also creating major health hazards in developing country cities. e.g., Kathmandu traffic police are exposed to 51.2 ug/m3 average up to 500 ug/m3 per hour. World Health Organization recommends an ambient PM2.5 guideline (25 μg/m3). Kathmandu’s average air quality is typically several times worse then WHO maximum guidelines.
Shrestha, HS et al., A cross-sectional study of lung functions in traffic police personnel at work in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal ACCLM 1(1)42-48(2015)

Policies for Monsoons, Earthquakes, and Climate Change

Since 2014, Himalayan Climate (a.k.a. Global warming) and Himalayan Monsoons recently received 350% and 270% of the publications on Himalayan Earthquakes. I.e., since 2014: Himalayan Climate 7030 pubs; Himalayan Monsoons 5300 pubs; Great Earthquakes Himalaya 1990 pubs.

Natural variability in earthquakes and monsoon rains in the Himalaya region appear to have far greater human  impact than climate change. Judith Curry gave testimony on the small climate sensitivity of recent evaluations and the very large uncertainties involved in evaluating climate change.

Consequently, governments should reallocate funding for response to civil disasters and on preparing resilient structures with corresponding building codes to prudently manage earthquakes and monsoon floods and landslides. These may then be adjusted for the apparent minor changes to be expected from global warming.

The Copenhagen Consensus has addressed Air Pollution in a detailed Air Pollution Assessment Paper. The Australian Government is supporting further work at the new Australian Consensus Centre at the University of Western Australia.

PREPAREDNESS BIBLIOGRAPHY – In context of Nepal [Bibliography]

Ways to donate for the Nepal Earthquake Relief [Donate]

PS Caveat emptor. I rapidly prepared this review as a researcher/citizen with a general interest in the subject. I look forward to feedback from those trained in these issues to extend and correct these comments and references.

David L. Hagen

104 responses to “Pondering Nepal’s hazards

  1. khal spencer

    Good post. Thanks for putting it all in one place!

    • David Springer

      I’m thinking global warming melted so much ice in the Himilayan mountains the reduced weight set off the earthquake.

      Yeah, that’s it. That’s the ticket.

  2. David L. Hagen

    Monday update: The death-toll has risen to 3700.
    Nepal based Matt Darvas with the Christian charity World Vision, said:

    “Villages in the areas affected near the epicenter are literally perched on the sides of large mountain faces and are made from simple stone and rock construction,” . . .[such villages are] “routinely affected” [by landslides and that it’s not uncommon for entire village of 200, 300 or even 1,000 people to be] “completely buried” [by rock falls.] “We are slowly hearing reports that this may have been the case in villages in the Kaski and Gorkha regions,”

    See Nepal Villages Earthquake Images

    During the 1 in 100 year October 1968 summer monsoon “rains”:

    “The 60 km mountain highway to Darjeeling got cut off at 92 places resulting into loss of lives and total disruption of the communication system”

    Bhandari, R.K. The Indian Landslide Scenario, Strategic Issues and Action Points , India Disaster Management Congress, New Delhi 29-30 November 2006, Session A2, Keynote address

    • David L. Hagen

      Villages Near Nepal Earthquake’s Epicenter Are Desperate as Death Toll Tops 4,000

      “As people start to travel these roads, to reach these communities, you run into landslides. They’re simply inaccessible, the ones that need the most help.” . . .
      The chief bureaucrat in Gorkha district, Uddhav Timilsina, said rescue crews were unable even to distribute relief, because they are confronting as many as eight to 10 landslides between one village and its nearest neighbor. . . .
      the army had only 12 operational helicopters available at the time of the disaster. India has since donated six more. . . .
      (Near the epicenter) There had been 1,300 houses in Saurpani, but one resident, Shankar Thapa, said, “all the houses collapsed.” . . .
      Dawa Janba, who lives about two days’ walk from his home village of Langtang, said he looked down from a helicopter on Sunday as he was being medically evacuated to Katmandu, and saw that “the whole valley has been destroyed.,” . . .

  3. Heartbreaking!

  4. I just spotted an article by Rand Simberg

    “Those advocating dramatic reductions in carbon emissions to prevent future natural disasters potentially arising from anthropogenic change to the climate often claim to be advocates for the third-world poor, such as those on low-lying islands, or in flood-prone areas such as Bangladesh. But to the degree that their recommended policy solutions reduce growth in societal wealth, by forcing expensive energy choices over low-cost fossil fuels (and that degree is large), they help ensure not only that the poor stay poor, and more vulnerable to events both natural and human caused, but that the wealthier among us will be less able to afford to help in situations like this.”

    • It isn’t the politics of climate change that have prevented the constructtion and maintenance of robust infrastructure in much of the world. It is the priorities and culture of the nations in question.

      • It is far more the lack of money – i.e. poverty of the nations in question.
        Whatever the desire, I very much doubt Nepal has the financial resources to build, much less rebuild, all or even many of its infrastructure to be earthquake resistant.
        The focus on such institutions as the World Bank on climate change in turns makes outside resources even less likely to be available.

      • ticketstopper

        Your comment seems to fail to understand the culture of the region. What has stopped the culture from making it a priority over hundreds of years? The “western” response seems to be that if they only had more money. Sorry but that is not the actual answer.

      • Rob,

        What cultural preference leads the Nepalese to use unreinforced masonry construction?

      • Ease of initial construction and availability of materials. Ask yourself why they have not built better flood prevention infrastructure although there have been annual floods for hundred of years? There is VAST corruption associated with infrastructure in the region.

      • Every dollar spent on carbon reduction (necessary or not) is a dollar not available to aid Nepal or any other country. Clearly Nepal has trouble accepting foreign investment but that doesn’t mean “we” should stop offering.

        Nepal clears India’s GMR plan for $1.4 billion hydroelectric plant
        But the project was delayed as the nascent republic was mired in instability with six government changes in as many years. Political parties also demanded greater benefits for Nepal from the scheme that is mainly aimed at exporting electricity to power-hungry India.

      • Rob,


        That makes sense. It would help to have something to add to the local materials make them earthquake safe. Rebar might do, but perhaps there is something cheaper or locally available. Not my area expertise. Government corruption is a big issue in the third world. The rule of law is a necessary ingredient.

      • Curious George

        Link, please. Or state how long you lived in Nepal.

      • David L. Hagen

        Cultural Barriers
        Rob et al.
        Indian social activist Vishal Mangalwadi explores some of those cultural issues in: The Quest For Freedom & Dignity: Caste, Conversion & Cultural Revolution

      • David L. Hagen

        Fatalism contributes

        The population was not ignorant. Fatalism arises when problems are so far outside people’s control that they can’t do anything about it — or rather, they think they can’t do anything about it.

      • Wattle and daub. Cheap. Quick. Flexible.

    • Perfectly stated.

    • David L. Hagen

      Climate models or real aid?
      Aid groups knew a Nepal earthquake would be a disaster. But they couldn’t raise enough money to help. “The Kathmandu earthquake has stretched our already strained humanitarian relief system beyond capacity.”

      In 2013, I interviewed Jo Scheuer, a United Nations official advising countries on natural disaster risk reduction. He’d been all over the world, surveying places vulnerable to floods, earthquakes and droughts, and I asked him what natural disaster scenario he feared the most. Without hesitation he replied: “The one that personally keeps me up at night, the one I fear the most is an earthquake in Kathmandu Valley. It’s one of the catastrophic hotspots in the world. We are waiting for it to happen, basically.”

      Contrast the availability of climate money as highlighted by Jo Nova. Money spent on highly inaccurate climate models could have prevented much of the damage in Nepal that Aid agencies have been appealing for but with little success.

  5. It’s certainly worth repeating: “The Stanford University-led research unearthed tenuous links between the tragedy and rising green house gas levels.” Clearly, it’s not all about physics… nor logic nor any kind of reason about which Westerners can be proud.

  6. David L. Hagen

    Lomborg on Prioritizing Aid
    Bjorn Lomborg’s new book The Nobel Laureates Guide to the Smartest Targets for the World 2016-2030 Paperback – April 20, 2015

    An Expert Panel including two Nobel Laureates has reviewed this research and identified 19 targets that represent the best value-for-money in development over the period 2016 to 2030, offering more than $15 back on every aid dollar invested. . . .Copenhagen Consensus has asked 60 teams of the world s top economists to weigh up the social, environmental and economic benefits and costs of 100+ targets across 22 global topics from Air Pollution and Education to Water. The world will spend $2.5 trillion on these targets 2016-2030. Picking the best targets can triple the benefits for the world s poorest.

  7. Pingback: The Tragedy Of Nepal | Transterrestrial Musings

  8. David L. Hagen

    Landslides destroy entire villages
    The Trishuli river was blocked by landslides at many places.

  9. The Indo-Australian plate is smacking Asia hard enough to create what could be the highest mountains in the history of the planet.

    Is there going to be tectonic vibrations and strain relieving earthquakes from smacking Asia that hard? Sure.

    Can land use aggravate things? Yup.

    They need to make sensible choices.

    AGW isn’t a factor in their problem. But AGW policies that reduce their standard of living would be a factor.

    Making people poor makes it harder for them to adapt to change. Only policies that increase personal net income should be encouraged.

    People in the government that advocate policies to reduce affluence and reduce the standard of living should simply be fired, banned from future government employment, and their government pensions confiscated.

  10. Looking for celestial triggers for large EQ events, I looked at lunar aspects but correlations were poor. I then found a link with Earth facing coronal holes, which Piers Corbyn and the suspiciousObservers youtube channel picked up on, but exceptions were too frequent. What I then found that is more consistent, is several days of slowing and less spiky solar wind.

  11. Excellent post!

    Money, time, and political capital wasted on CO2 mitigation should be focused on hardening the built environment against natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, forest fires, and drought. Further effort should be exerted to improve the lives of the billions of poor people via infrastructure improvements such as transportation, clean water, sewage processing, and energy. everything else will fall into place.

    What a waste.

  12. I have seen this first hand in both the 1st and 3rd world. Poor people build on hillsides because they are the least valuable properties. The hillside is deforested to provide fuel for cooking and heating. One house is built against the next to save construction costs – one less wall to construct. The unplanned community results in poorly constructed roads without proper drainage. The impervious surfaces collect and concentrate storm water into a raging torrent. The hillside fails catastrophically and many people are killed. Repeat.

    Ironically, these events occur regularly within a stone’s throw from the site of the Rio Earth Summit. Sigh.

  13. “While dramatic, catastrophic earthquakes and floods should be evaluated in context of slower but even deadlier air pollution.”

    “Around 3 billion people cook and heat their homes using open fires and simple stoves burning biomass (wood, animal dung and crop waste) and coal.

    “Over 4 million people die prematurely from illness attributable to the household air pollution from cooking with solid fuels.”

    Not mentioned in the WHO statistics because of a bias in separating infectious diseases from air pollution, 1.5 million people die of tuberculosis every year, most of whom are children.

    You may ask, why would I combine indoor air pollution with tuberculosis? because, the respiratory burden of indoor air pollutants, roughly 7000 known chemicals of which 70+ are carcinogenic, these chemicals overwhelm the respiratory host defenses. Aldehydes, particulates, both 2.5 microns, coagulate the mucus of the mucocilliary escalator inhibiting phlegm removal, damaging the respiratory cilia which propel mucus from the lower airways, inhibit the mobility of macrophages that gobble up particulates and poisons, kill lymphocytes that have rushed to meet the respiratory invaders, hence, created an environment of paralysis of host defense and being permissive for infection invasion and overwhelming the next stage of host defense.

    Adding the WHO data for indoor air pollution (4 million) with the tuberculosis death data (1.5 million) is in part justified as the locations of the highest deaths from indoor air pollution overlay the same global regions of the deaths from tuberculosis; namely, in the Southeast Asia and Western Pacific regions. Their match is no coincidence.

    So, to address the large number of preventable deaths that occur in the developing world every year, initiate the generation and distribution infrastructure to electrify these countries just like the 1935 Rural Electrification Program in the USA. Electrification of Southeast Asia and Western Pacific nations alone will save more than 5 million lives a year besides allowing for the economic development, cooking, refrigeration, lighting that promote health and wellbeing.

    How many runs of super computer models could be eliminated to electrify Nepal?

    • +1 This is a known problem with a known solution that can be fixed right now. Contrast that with the effort and $ wasted on an uncertain problem with untenable solutions of unknown efficacy. Which does a rational person choose.

    • Posts and comments like this are one of many reasons I read Climate, etc. The information you provide is compelling, but the progressives, not only in the US, but most of the Western cultures, would likely demand that any electrification program be accomplished using renewables like wind and solar as if those technologies could provide sufficient energy to achieve the necessary power generation to make much of a difference.

    • Very good points.

      Maybe its organisers could extend Earth Hour into Earth Week for participants. Then all of Western luvviedom could experience what it’s like NOT to have immediate power at the flick of a switch: cheap, reliable electricity without smoke, flame or stink.

      Of course, with a much bigger klimatariat we could include the billions of burners of twigs and dung and kerosene in an emissions trading scheme. But no. The on-grid fossil fuels, nukes and hydro which have made my life more amenable need to make the lives of all more amenable. Nothing less than that will do.

    • David L. Hagen

      Air Pollution
      Bjorn Lomborg emphasizes: The surprising problem that is the greatest environmental danger to women and children Indoor air pollution kills a staggering 4.3 million people a year in the developing world

      . . .It is well known that air pollution in cities like Beijing or Bangkok is far worse than in developed-world cities like New York. On average, developing world cities are 10 times more polluted. But what most don’t realize is that the indoor air in the homes of almost half this world’s families is 10 times worse than the outdoor air in Bangkok. For most women and children, the polluted public spaces of emerging mega-cities are dramatically cleaner, in terms of air quality, than their own smoke-filled homes.

      To put the issue in perspective, take the much more talked-about environmental problem of global warming. WHO estimates that currently 141,000 a year die from global warming, while 4.3 million die right now each year from indoor air pollution—a figure many times higher than even the 250,000 annual deaths from global warming WHO anticipates by 2050. Of course, this does not mean global warming is an unimportant environmental issue, but clearly indoor air pollution should be given high priority as an urgent concern of humanitarians.

      The good news is that it is comparatively cheap to tackle the issue. One effective step is to provide half of these 2.8 billion people with improved cooking stoves, which dispel smoke to the outside through chimneys and vents. That alone would save almost half a million lives each year, and avoid 2.5 billion disease days. The cost would be around $5 billion a year, but this investment would yield economic, social and environmental benefits amounting to $52 billion a year.. . .

  14. Pingback: Pondering Nepal’s hazards | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  15. Thank you for a very informative post.

  16. David L. Hagen

    Nepal’s Hydropower Potential
    Harnessing Nepal’s Hydropower for Energy Starved South Asia

    Nepalese citizens endure up to 12 to 18 hour power cuts every day. Businesses are hurting, students cannot study after dark and healthcare is hampered. This, when Nepal’s perennial rivers and topography are ideal for developing hydroelectric projects. The country’s hydropower potential is estimated to be <upwards of 50,000 MW – actual electricity generation from hydropower in Nepal is currently 800 MW from 20 major hydropower plants and a number of small and micro hydropower plants.

    This needs to be constructed recognizing the very active earthquake issue. Run of the River is one methods.

    See articles on Nepal Hydropower

  17. David L. Hagen

    Ways to donate for Nepal Earthquake Relief
    Posted on Facebook.

  18. I just received this email from one of our graduate students from Nepal:

    Dear friends,

    You might be already aware that my country Nepal has been hit by a series of earthquakes past two days. My family is safe but others were not so lucky. The death toll is already near 4000 and is expected to go up as dust settles after this devastation. Thousands have been injured, countless have lost home. The survivors are in need of basic humanitarian help like food, water, warm clothes, tent. There are a number of organizations helping but they need fund to support their mission.

    I am making this personal request to you if there is anything you can do to help those in needs. Literally, every penny counts. I understand there might be limitation because we are all in academia but I am confident that you would do everything in your power to help our fellow friends in the footstep of the Himalayas.

    I will be donating to the American Red Cross. They are helping to lead search and rescue missions, providing blood supplies and delivering critical life-saving aid. All donations to Red Cross are tax deductible.


    Thank You

    With hope,

  19. David L. Hagen

    Bamboo Reinforcing
    It is possible to use bamboo as an inexpensive reinforcing for concrete. However few know about it. See publications on Bamboo Concrete

    • hemp makes a good fiber reinforcement as well and improves concrete ductility.

    • Very interesting re bamboo, David. While I have a lot of the stuff I’m none too knowledgeable on how it’s used in construction. What I do say over and over to people interested in bamboo is that it is light and safe to handle, for all its strength. Forestry is lethal work (I’m in eucalypt country) but you could send a kid to cut hundred foot high poles of moso bamboo.

      Surprisingly, some of the green persuasion think I should be growing “native” timbers, ignoring the millions of such timbers growing all around my too modest grove of “exotic” bamboo. Me, I love those angry eucalypts at a slight distance and my moso close-up.

      • David L. Hagen

        mosomoso g’day mate
        Important to dry the bamboo before use. Minimum moisture concrete may help too so as to minimize cellulosic swelling/shrinkage.

  20. Nepal deforestation and climate changehave been posited for enhancing downstream flooding such as in Bangladesh. Peak flows can be affected by changes in land use and land cover.

    Whoever’s idea it was to switch from global warming to climate change made allowed a whole emotional narrative to be slipped into any sentence about any disaster. Climate change’s assumed meaning: man caused climate change from CO2 emission.

    I feel for anyone caught in the midst of a natural disaster or poverty, and especially in situations of both. Oppressive taxation and restrictive regulation to be administered by central authority, preferably a world government, will only add corruption to the misery. The educated 1st world is only recently fully realizing the destructive effects of funding dictators with aid money and the corrupting effects on legitimate governments. Micro-loans through internet banks, direct sponsorship and eco-tourism are a glimmer of hope of turning the corner of being able to bring economic and political liberty to the world.

    Those that are telling the world that the affluent are responsible for causing disasters and bad weather through CO2 carelessness are feeding propaganda that will likely far outweigh any negative atmospheric effects.

  21. This interesting post stimulated some reading up on Nepal. CIA World fact book for starters. A very difficult situation. Multiple ethnicities and languages. Caste system still strong. Fragmented gridlocked political system (over 80 parties). No constitution since 2006. Legal system a hodgepodge of Enflish common law and Hindu/tribal tradition. Few building codes and effectively zero enforcement. 80% of population survives on rural subsistence agriculture. Ag less than 25% mechanized, rest is split roughly evenly between human and animal power. Much of the ‘mechanization’ is just a rototiller since so much of Nepal farmland is steep very narrow terraces. Many farmers do not even have iron/steel plows; wood plows predominate. Main ‘industries’ are tourism (trekking, moutaineering) and repatriated expat earnings. 2.1 milllion Nepalese working elsewhere (Gulf laborers). Less than half the population have any access to electricity. Abundent potential hydro (several big studies in the last decade) yet no movement on further development; too poor, too little industry. Nepal is a ‘wicked’ development problem.
    They will be a very long time recovering from this devastating quake.

  22. Conservation and modernisation are what we all need and what the Himalayan states need. Yet the klimatariat has already begun to attribute the floods of the region to you-know-what, ignoring the fact the Bhutan’s very name refers to thunder and storm. So wind turbines in Spain and solar panels around Berlin are a “solution”. (Why you wouldn’t just burn some coal where you have it so far north and install solar where the sun shines too much on impoverished Africans must remain one of the impenetrable mysteries of Big Green – especially since you’ll end up burning lots of coal anyway. Is the atmosphere compartmentalised now, in the minds of the carbophobes?)

    It will be hard to find sufficient money and engineer effectively in places like Nepal as long as the pensive classes of the West think they are helping by installing solar panels or special light globes on the other side of the world to where the problems are occurring. Every jet trail to Paris and every candle dripping in Earth Hour is a nail in the coffins of conservation and human welfare.

    • +100 mosomoso

    • The CBO estimate for the cost of the 2013 US wind subsidy was $12 billion (essay Tilting at Windmills). The current ‘UN’ estimate to rebuild as much of Nepal as possible is $5 billion. The wildely varying estimates to harness Nepal hydro into abundance (several studies) are all just low single digit billions. Giving every farmer steel plows and other tools, plus a roto tiller and free gas for life, would be rounding error. There would be money left over to similarly aid other countries. The moral dimension of CAGW is monstrously evil.

      • Per below post, now $10 b rather than 5 for rebuilding to code. So after hydro plus steel agricultural tools and mechanization, maybe nothing left over from just one years US wind subsidy. The moral point remains sharp.

      • Someone needs to make these points at the Pope’s conference tomorrow on the moral dimensions of climate change.

        It’s enough to make me want to pour myself a drink.

  23. stevefitzpatrick

    Re: culture, wealth, etc. and why Nepal is unprepared

    As of 2013, Brazil: Per capita income: US$11,300. Japan: US$38,634

    Japan: A crowded (338,000 sq Km, population 127 million), island with earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, a recent catastrophic war defeat (WW II), inadequate agricultural land to feed the population. No petroleum, no coal, no natural gas, few other natural resources.

    Brazil: Enormous space, low population density (8,500 million square Km, population 200 million). Abundant coal, vast mineral riches, huge off-shore petroleum reserves, tranquil climate, no earthquakes, no hurricanes.

    Why the huge difference in wealth? The answer is not in our stars, it is in ourselves.

    Japan pursues excellence in education, production efficiency, product quality, and technology. Brazil, not so much: broad political corruption, grotesque economic distortions, absurd and counterproductive taxes, inadequate access to education, regardless of ability, and endless costly catering to a huge parasitic bureaucracy (both active and retired).

    Culture is destiny.

    • The Personal Income Tax Rate in Japan stands at 50.84 percent. Personal Income Tax Rate in Japan averaged 50.15 percent from 2004 until 2014, reaching an all time high of 50.84 percent in 2013 and a record low of 50 percent in 2005.


      Japan’s top effective corporate tax rate is 34.6 percent, among the highest in the major economies. The average corporate tax rate stands around 25 percent among OECD economies.

      • that is maximum tax rate, the nation income tax rate on ~30K is 10% plus about 10% perfecture and municipal. there is then a big jump to 20% over 3.3million yen.

        the national corporate tax rate drops this year to 23.9%n for 25.5%. More tax cuts are planned for 2016. perfecture and local brings it up to 34% after deductions er… subsidies.


      • Yes. And Japan has suffered two decades of stagnation. I have spent considerable business/personal time in both Japan and Brazil. From my personal observations, SFP is correct. In fact, I had the CEO of the Brazilian subsidiary of one of the world’s largest European corporations explain Brazil thusly: the country of the future, and always will be. Because you have to divide the population in two, since half don’t contribute, and never will.
        Now, his comment was a bit harsh. But eye opening.
        Joshua, a simple question. Have you been to both countries? Yes/no, not waffles. If so, how many weeks/months? In my case Japan totals almost a year (plus lived there as a kid for 2). Brazil, totalling over three months.

    • Steve Fitzpatrick

      “Culture is destiny”

      Almost. I would say history and trajectories matter. Brazil has corruption but the people are finally taking action. Google Brazil and corruption. There have to be incremental changes: the rule of law makes people feel safer to protest and implement change which leads to more effective enforcement of the law ad infinitum. Due to an enormous social underclass, there is a high crime rate and personal safety is a big issue. Many Brazilians have expressed amazement to me that suburban houses in the USA do not need security fences. As the rule of law increases, people are willing to take more financial and entrepreneurial risks, which increases GDP, leading to more economic growth. Economic growth leads to more infrastructure investment such as transportation networks, energy, sewage treatment, and clean water production. One big overhanging problem is public education – it’s lousy. The rich and middle class (like my wife’s extended family) put their kids in private schools and thus the political will to improve public education lies mostly in the lower socioeconomic classes. They are making progress …

      Oh, and one last thing, Brazil has an annual (?) exam for college entry and the highest scoring students go to the public universities for free, regardless of income. Everyone else pays.

      • The annual exam is called the “vestibular” and the university is called the “Federal University” followed by the name of the region. For example:


      • stevefitzpatrick

        Justin Wonder,
        I am perfectly fluent in Portuguese, I have spent, in total, years in Brazil, and I have two Brazilian children. You are mistaken about the university system: the only kids who have a real chance at entering competitive universities are those who’s parents have the financial means to send their kids to private schools; the public schools are a catastrophe… underfunded, underpaid teachers, etc.

    • stevefitzpatrick

      As usual Joshua, you have not a clue what you are talking about. Tax as a fraction of GDP: Brazil -34%, Japan -28%. How much time have you spent in those two counties? Are you fluent in either country’s language? How many native Brazilians do you know? Do you often ask Brazilians ‘O que voce pensa?’ How many Japanese?’ Do you read the newspapers from Sao Paulo… in Portuguese? I would be tempted to just dismiss you as an !diot, but that would be too simple. You are just grotesquely unaware of most everything you comment on, and profoundly narrow and childlike in your thinking. That Judith places you in moderation is a good thing. That you can comment at all here just lowers the information content of most any thread. Please save us all a lot of pain and just go away.

  24. I just received this via email from EQUECAT


    Preliminary damage reports from this earthquake are focused on the damage to many older, unreinforced buildings in the cities and towns throughout Nepal. Damage to these types of structures was exacerbated since their development is built on poorly consolidated river plains, which leads to ground motion amplification from soft or liquefiable soils. Some reports are highlighting the strong performance of buildings that have now been designed for earthquake ground motions and affects.

    The USGS’s PAGER economic damage service is estimating a median estimate of $10 Billion from this event. These estimated represents a large fraction of the Nepal economy, a country with a population of approximately 31 million people and a 2014 GDP of approximately $67 Billion (purchasing power parity) or $20 Billion (official exchange rate). There is insufficient information to assess the level of insured losses from this type of event, although generally newer (and more robust) buildings are more likely to have insurance coverage. Nepal’s electricity production is primarily from hydro-electric power associated with rivers and dams in the mountains. The re-establishment of electricity in Kathmandu will strongly influence the speed of recovery from this event, however, there is insufficient information available to evaluate if the current electricity disruptions are more than just temporary.

  25. Not stated that well in the article and replies is the nature of the urban substrate in and around Katmandu. Like Mexico City and Tokyo, the substrate is soft sediment which amplifies earthquake shocks. Lacking building codes based on modern earthquake engineering, disasters like this are made worse.

    George Devries Klein PhD, PG, FGSA

  26. David L. Hagen

    Examples of devastated brick and stone structures in the hills nearer the epicenter: Hill image 1.; Hill image 2.
    6.7 aftershocks! Traffic jam on the only road to the epicenter near Gorkha.
    Updates from UMN and INF, the two major missions working within Nepal

  27. “it’s buildings that kill people not earthquakes … governments should reallocate funding for response to civil disasters and on preparing resilient structures with corresponding building codes to prudently manage earthquakes and monsoon floods and landslides.”

    Two factors – first, Nepal does not have the resources or expertise to build to earthquake-proof standards. Such a task would depend on massive international support. The welfare of Nepalis might be much more greatly improved by lower cost measures not related to ‘quake-proofing.

    Second, the major ‘quakes occur on about a 75-year cycle – see http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-32472310 . Building now in anticipation of a major quake around 2090 is as poor a use of resources as, say, basing energy policy on what impact GHG emissions might have in 2100.

    My wife’s view is that it would be best to rebuild with low-rise, lightweight material buildings which will minimise damage and casualties in the event of an earthquake. Such a policy could be revisited as the next “big one” approaches.

    (As it happens, my wife and I are together as a result of a blocked gorge crossing in Nepal and a road-blocking landslide in the Indian Himalayas in the early ’70s; but that’s another story.)


  28. David L. Hagen

    Resilient Building Construction
    The collapse of fragile medieval buildings highlights the importance of resilient building design for developing countries. See:
    A Tested, Inexpensive Way to Protect Buildings from Earthquakes

    There are many ways to make a building resilient against earthquakes. In wood structures, extra strappings can be nailed to key parts of the frame. Steel-reinforced concrete is another option, with the strengths and weaknesses of each compound offsetting the other, though even that may not be enough to prevent damage in a large quake. Some buildings use dampers similar to shock-absorbers in a car. The most effective, though, may be base isolation, where the building is separated from the ground using dampers or bearings.
    To isolate the base, engineers can turn to a variety of different bearings and dampers. Rubber bearings, like those installed in the Foothill Communities Law and Justice Center, are among the most promising. Like other bearings, they decouple the building from an earthquake’s horizontal motions, literally providing a buffer between the building and the earthquake. The system doesn’t absorb the earthquake’s energy, but rather deflects it through the dynamics of the system. The earthquake’s higher frequencies—and their destructive energy—aren’t transmitted to the rest of the structure. Buildings built on rubber bearings will still shake during an earthquake, but they’ll glide on their base rather than wobble dangerously.

    • It’s now been 109 years since the Great San Francisco Quake, which are supposed to come once in a hundred years. We may very well see how these quake counter-measures perform in CA. The pressure builds at the fault if movement progress stalls (I believe.) Does anyone know if movement is monitored at all fault lines? Should it be? If this theory is correct would it not be a possible mitigation to intentionally disrupt the fault with hydraulic fracture? This would be analogous to controlled burns to prevent catastrophic forest fires like the one that tool 1/3 of Yellowstone. I realize it would be politically impossible even if it was a good idea. But I like to ponder.

      • David L. Hagen

        Ron Graf
        Theoretically I think you ponder accurately. And yes, with the hoards of lawyers we train it would be economically (aka politically) impossible.
        See current discussion: Coping with earthquakes induced by fluid injection A McGarr, B Bekins, N Burkardt, J Dewey, P Earle… – Science, 2015

        PS That reminds me of a commercial feasibility study I prepared for a south pacific island location. The local geologist assured me that the volcano only went off (from memory) every ~113 years. Since it had erupted less than three decades before, we were good to go for another eight decades or About a year or two after having confidently submitted that study, the volcano erupted again!

      • Thanks David. I knew there would be at least one geologist in the house. After Googling I found the 1906 San Francisco Quake was preceded by a couple of decades of activity. After the big one things were quiet for 68 years and started up again 1979. We perhaps already missed the boat on easing things along continually.

        If the level of earthquake activity during the next few decades is similar to activity between 1836 and 1911, then the probability of a magnitude 7 earthquake in the next 30 years is about 75 percent.


      • David L. Hagen

        I should have said vulcanologist.
        (PS I’m not a geologist – rather an energy research engineer)

    • David L. Hagen

      The difference in damage from different types of building construction is clearly visible in this Drone image of Bhaktapur

  29. Seems like the remaining Google billionaires could each chip in a million or so and this catastrophe would be taken care of. Not holding my breath though. Maybe we could get the celebrities to go cry on their doorsteps. Then the celebs could contribute a hundred grand or so.

    That’s what should happen here.

  30. David L. Hagen

    5 Maps of Nepal’s Earthquake

    Acute Need for Aid in Nepal

    The capital city is largely a collection of small, poorly constructed brick apartment buildings. The earthquake destroyed swaths of the oldest neighborhoods, but many were surprised by how few modern structures collapsed in the quake.

    Note impacts of New Madrid earthquake in mid USA.

  31. David L. Hagen

    Does Climate Change Trigger Earthquakes?
    More Fatal Earthquakes to Come, Warn Climate Change Scientists

    It’s the ebb and flow of rainwater in the great river deltas of India and Bangladesh, and the pressure that puts on the grinding plates that make up the surface of the planet.

    Recently discovered, that causal factor is seen by a growing body of scientists as further proof that climate change can affect the underlying structure of the Earth.

    Because of this understanding, a series of life-threatening “extreme geological events” – earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis – is predicted by a group of eminent geologists and geophysicists including University College London’s Bill McGuire, professor emeritus of Geophysical and Climate Hazards.

    Reality Check
    Indian Plate

    the Indian plate had such a high drifting velocity because of its low lithospheric thickness which extends to about 100 km

    Nepal’s annual precipitation is about 1500 mm
    80% of precipitation occurs during about 3 months during the summer monsoon (“winds”) with 20% during the winter monsoon.
    So we already have about 10:1 natural variation in precipitation during the year.
    Assuming a density of 2.7 t/m3, the 100 km thick Indian plate has a columnar mass on the order of 270,000 tons/m2. Compare that to order 1.5 tons/m2 for annual precipitation. We already are looking at ratios of less than 1:100,000. Anthropogenic caused climate variation might be an order of magnitude less so we are talking variations of 1 : 1,000,000?
    That does not pass my initial scientific “sniff test” as being significant – though for landing grants from the gullible it will sadly be highly influential – Just when the extreme poor in Nepal urgently need food, medicine and shelter!

  32. Some notes on earthquake safe construction.

    There were 63 deaths in the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake but not one single death in a stick-framed residential structure. Most of the deaths occurred in the collapse of the bay bridge. One young woman was killed in a coffee shop in Santa Cruz when an unreinforced brick wall collapsed upon her. The owner of that building and the city planning department had been negotiating to make the building earthquake safe prior to the event. The family and the owner settled out of court. Two other people were killed in collapsed commercial/retail structures. One person was killed when he drove into a herd of panicked horses that had escaped from their enclosure. Another person was killed when a landslide buried her moving vehicle on the highway.

    Here are the 5 caveats for earthquake resistant stick framed residential structures:

    1. Keep it light ( ie. no heavy roofs)
    2. Keep it together. ( tie decks, additions, extensions, attached structures together)
    3. If you can’t keep it together, keep it apart. (ie. have enough space between house and garage, if not attached, so they don’t bang each other)
    4. Know the load paths ( around doors, windows, corners, etc all the way to the foundation)
    5. Buildings should fail gently ( no catastrophic failures, like the connection between a single load bearing post and a heavy load carrying beam, use connectors in that scenario)

    In the 1906 SF Earthquake most of the damage was done by fire and much of the shaking damage happened on fill (liquefaction).

    Brick structures are more challenging: they are heavy, have little shear strength, and they fail catastrophically.

    The Simmons Strong-Tie catalogue has lots of interesting metal connectors for retrofitting existing structures.

    • http://www.strongtie.com/

      I have no financial interest in or any connection to this company, I just find their products and technical bulletins very interesting. I have used their products and found them to be easy to use, well documented, and relatively inexpensive for the safety they provide. They would not be considered inexpensive in the third world.

  33. David L. Hagen

    Satellite radar interferometry to map super-earthquakes
    With very limited in country measurements, satellites may help.
    Turns out satellites work great for mapping earthquakes
    University of Iowa William Barnhart

    and his team used geodetic data to measure small deformations in the surface caused by an 6.0-magnitude quake that hit Napa Valley in August 2014 (the biggest the Bay Area had seen in 25 years). By analyzing those measurements, the geologists determined how much the ground moved with relation to the fault plane, which helps describe the exact location, orientation, and dimensions of the entire fault. Then they created the Technicolor map above, showing just how much the ground shifted.

    Continuing megathrust earthquake potential in Chile after the 2014 Iquique earthquake, GP Hayes, MW Herman, WD Barnhart, KP Furlong… – Nature, 2014 – nature.com

  34. David L. Hagen

    Mapping Nepal’s Quake

    The Nepal Earthquake – What We Can Do As Remote Sensing & Mapping

    As relief efforts are in full swing on the ground, here are some significant volunteer contributions we can make as remote sensing and mapping experts. If you know of any further resources or near-real-time applications for such skills, please mention in the comments.

    2015 Nepal Earthquake

  35. David L. Hagen

    Indigenous rescue efforts also need help
    Indigenous organizations are also doing all they can to help with the massive rescue task facing Nepal. Relatives in country recommend supporting a small Nepali Christian NGO RNN; Rescue Network Nepal

    This group has been giving First Aid and First Responder training to many communities around the country through local churches. They are an approved project to receive designated gifts through Nepal Field Fund of World Mission Prayer League. . . .they are concentrating on South Lalitpur District to go give first aid to villagers and provide tents and ferry patients to the hospital.

    They have so many requests that they had run out of supplies Tuesday April 28th.

    • David L. Hagen

      INF’s Gorkha Epicenter Report April 30th

      After our team arrived in the area [Monday, 27.4.15] they heard many confirmed reports of countless villages [ranging from 50 to 1500 residents], where 70-90% of dwellings have been completely destroyed. The simple dwellings have either collapsed or been swept away by landslides, taking with them not only those who were inside [mainly children and the elderly, as those of working age were in the fields] but food supplies that are typically kept in the home.
      INF is working with local partners and other NGOs to support the relief effort and help families to simply go on living. Provision will include tents, food and water purification kits, or whatever else is needed to help people survive and stay safe.

  36. David L. Hagen

    Avalanche destroyed Langtang village

    trekkers’ bodies were recovered on Saturday and Sunday at the Langtang village, 60 kilometres north of Kathmandu, which is on a trekking route popular with Westerners. The entire village, which includes 55 guesthouses for trekkers, was wiped out by the avalanche, officials said. . . .Local volunteers and police personnel are digging through six-feet (deep) snow with shovels looking for more bodies – . . .The April 25 earthquake has killed 7,366 people and wounded nearly 14,500, Nepal’s government said. –

  37. Update from Charlie Barran, who took tarps etc to a village:

    “Back in Kathmandu after a short trip up to Khahare village in the region of Gaurishankar to the east of the capital. Luckily there were no fatalities or major injuries. While the houses appear superficially untouched many have significant internal damage and the inhabitants prefer to sleep outside in small shelters that previously housed their animals.

    “The rebuilding process has started with the structure of a house for a family of five. They are waiting (it will take five days) to get steel roof sheets from Jiri – a small settlement a day’s walk then a tortuous two hour bus ride away.

    “The house site is not ideal but has been chosen to minimise the loss of flat land used for their crops. So in the interim two men are removing the top of an inconvenient rock with a sledge hammer and chisel. A backbreaking task. These are very tough people with the skills to rebuild. What they require are building materials.”

  38. get to know about the unknown things

  39. David L. Hagen

    Earthquake Relief in Gorkha
    The INF (International Nepal Fellowship) reports on EarthQuake Relief in Gorkha the epicenter of Nepal’s earthquake.