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Earthquake Safe Communities in Nepal

20th Earthquake Safety Day marked

Nepal has marked Earthquake Safety Day (ESD) with various awareness raising programs across the country on January 16, 2018 commemorating the Great Nepal-Bihar Earthquake of 1934. The main function of the 20th ESD, held at Basantapur Durbar Square area in Kathmandu, was inaugurated by Prime Minister and Home Minister Mr. Sher Bahadur Deuba.

Addressing the program, Prime Minister Deuba said that majority of deaths during the earthquake were caused by weak structures rather than the earthquake itself. Thus, he urged the concerned government departments, stakeholders as well as local organizations to adhere to the building code. He also emphasized on building the communities safer to resist future earthquakes. “As disasters are equally severe to everyone, it is our responsibility and we all need to make a firm commitment towards disaster risk reduction,” he said.

Addressing the same program, Mr. Yuvaraj Bhusal, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) remarked that the 1990 and 2015 earthquakes resulted in massive losses and sufferings, thus in order to alleviate the effects of the earthquakes, activities such as preparedness, response, relief and rescue and other Disaster Risk Reduction activities need to be accelerated on extensively. During the event, Mr. Bhusal also informed about NRA’s progress of reconstruction and future plans.

On the occasion, Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), Mr. Bidhya Sundar Shakya vowed to prioritize the earthquake risk reduction measures in stringent manner in the municipality. He remarked that building permit process will not just be limited to residential houses, public buildings, schools and other buildings too need to abide by the rules and pass the process in the future. He further added that KMC has not been charging building permit fees to those who lost their houses in the earthquake.

Dr. Amod Mani Dixit, Member Secretary, Earthquake Safety Day National Committee and NSET General Secretary presented the welcome remarks in the program chaired by Minister for Physical planning and Transport Bir Bahadur Balayar. At the program Mr. Shiva Hari Sharma, Coordinator, Earthquake Safety Day Publicity Sub Committee and Director General, Department of Urban Development and Building Construction also expressed his views in the program.

Senior government officials and dignitaries from diplomatic missions were also present at the program. This year, the slogan for the event was: 'Empowering Local Communities and Governments: Strong Foundation of Earthquake Safety'. Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) hosted the ESD National Program this year.

Prior to the national meeting, a memorial meeting was held at historical Earthquake Monument at Bhugol Park, Kathmandu at 11 AM to pay tribute to those who lost their lives during the past earthquakes of 1934, 1988, 2015 and many others. The chief guest of the memorial was Mr. Bir Bahadur Balayar, Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport.

Following the memorial meeting, an Earthquake Safety Rally was conducted. With Kathmandu Metropolitan City in the lead, the rally was held in order to elevate the level of public awareness, perception and attitude towards earthquake risks as well as preparedness and to promote and encourage safer reconstruction. The rally was joined by personnel from various Government Offices, Community Groups, Police Forces, Nepal Army, NGOs, INGOs, Scouts, Students, Volunteers, Participants, Businesses, Local Community people, CBOs and many more.

The rally commenced from Juddha Salik, New Road, walking across Om Bahal, Lagan, Bramha Tole, Huymat, Jasidewal, Kohiti, Bhimsensthan, Kasthhmandap, Yatkha, Naradevi, Kilagal, Bhedasingh, Indrachowk and finally gathered at Juddha Salik for the National Earthquake Safety Day Meeting.

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