Earthquake Safe Communities in Nepal

Training on "Earthquake Hazard Assessment and Aftershock Forecasting" kicks-off in Kathmandu

A training on "Earthquake Hazard Assessment and Aftershock Forecasting" has begun in Kathmandu jointly organized by Nepal Government’s Department of Mines and Geology (DMG), United States Geological Survey (USGS), National Society for Earthquake Technology-Nepal (NSET) and Earthquake Safety Solutions (ESS) with the support from Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA). The training is a part of ongoing collaborative effort of organizing partners in association with various academic institutions and agencies.

Addressing the inaugural session, Prof. Dr. Prem Nath Maskey from Institute of Engineering (IOE) acknowledged the importance of this endeavor. "While talking about the disaster risk, hazard becomes a more important component. With that sense, it’s very much pertinent to conduct training on earthquake hazard assessment and also on topic of aftershock forecasting, which is new idea for us", Prof. Maskey remarked. He added, "We are not only conducting training for new generation, but we are also going to learn new ideas and approaches".

From the Chair, Dr. Soma Nath Sapkota, Director General of DMG stressed on how important it is to have right policies for right purpose. Dr. Sapkota stated, "the deliberations from this training are to serve for better policies and ultimately serve our people. We all scientists should be committed to make better policies and contribute to our people." He further added, "we have got new ideas and approaches but equally important is to have good systems and instruments that we are focusing in our case."

NSET General Secretary Dr. Amod Mani Dixit talked about recent Feta tornado and Gorkha Earthquake. Dr. Dixit mentioned, "Feta Tornado has asked challenging question to scientists. Earlier in 2015 Gorkha Earthquake, people asked question to scientists, administrators! Can we save our lives? Can we save our children? Can we save our schools? Temples? Hospitals?" He added, "we have been trying to answer those questions. But while answering the questions, unfortunately, institutionally and individually we are providing different answers to the questions raised by the people suffered from Feta Tornado or Gorkha Earthquake. We need to make some changes in our trajectory. We need to have consensus on the problems and consensus on the solutions."

Seismologist Dr. Susan Hough from USGS mentioned about ongoing collaboration that is helping work together for building better knowledge and understanding on seismic issues. "2015 Gorkha Earthquake was a great tragedy and also an impetus for actions not only to address reconstruction needs but also for hazard assessment, building code implementation, seismic monitoring and range of activities," Dr. Hough remarked. She appreciated Nepal’s efforts in the areas of seismic science and hazards assessment during past 15 years, and wished from USGS side to continue collaborating with Nepal Government, NSET and partners.

NSET Executive Director Mr. Surya Narayan Shrestha introduced the training program. As mentioned by Mr. Shrestha, the main objectives of this training are: to enhance our understanding on what is going on in our country, in terms of earthquake monitoring, in terms of seismological studies and also in terms of data generation and hazard evaluation; to familiarize with new idea, new concepts, new methodologies, tools, techniques such as on aftershock forecasting; and to go one step ahead in enhancing collaboration – among Nepali professionals and experts from USGS and other agencies.

After the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake and subsequent aftershocks, earthquake phenomena have been much discoursed in public, academic and scientific communities in Nepal. There is a felt need of building better scientific understanding and enhanced civic education on seismic phenomena in Nepal. With the prime objective to enhance knowledge on earthquake hazard in Nepal, in the guidance of DMG, NSET and USGS had jointly organized a training workshop on "PSHA, Seismic Microzonation and Monitoring" during 25-27 April 2016. Later, NSET and USGS organized "Training Workshop on Earthquake Engineering" in collaboration with California Institute of Technology (CalTech) and Earthquake Safety Solutions (ESS), Nepal during September 19-22, 2016 in Kathmandu.

As the continuation of past efforts, NSET and USGS are organizing this four-day training course on "Earthquake Hazard Assessment and Aftershock Forecasting" during 9-12 April 2019 under the guidance of DMG and in collaboration with Earthquake Safety Solutions (ESS). The training will focus on The course will cover following topics: Hazard in Nepal, Sources, Paleoseismology and Historical Earthquake; Nepal earthquakes, catalogue and processing; Site characteristics: Experience of Gorkha Earthquake; Site effects from analysis of spectral ratio and numerical simulation; Comparison of observed and predicted ground motion; Seismic microzonation; PSHA: How it is prepared?; and Aftershock forecasting.

There are total 35 participants from government agencies, academia, NSET and ESS. A team of facilitators including experts and senior professionals from Nepal Government, Academia, NSET and USGS are conducting the course. There will be half-day seminar on April 11 for media, senior government officials, academia to share the ideas on the theme.

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