Earthquake Safe Communities in Nepal

Retrofit is one of the top priorities for the current time, says Mr. Sushil Gyewali, CEO of National Reconstruction Authority

CEO of National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), Mr. Sushil Gyewali, has instructed trained Engineers to reach & help beneficiaries on retrofit. While Housing Reconstruction after 2015 Gorkha Earthquake is almost to accomplish, there are around seventy thousand beneficiaries enlisted for retrofit support where progress is marginally low. Retrofit is relatively new approach and people are seeking guidance on what and how they can do retrofit of their houses.

CEO Gyewali was addressing closing of "Engineers’ Training on Seismic Retrofit Design of Masonry Buildings" organized by NRA & NSET during Aug 5-9, 2019 in Kathmandu through USAID supported "Baliyo Ghar" program. "You are NRA’s extended hands to reach to communities and individual beneficiaries. You can help them how they can secure their partially damaged houses with safety level enhanced and how they can continue their attachment and association with the houses they have been living for long times" CEO Gyewali pointed. He stressed also for using mass media to communicate with communities.

On the occasion, Chief of Center Level Project Implementation Unit of NRA (NRA/CLPIU - Building) Mr. Navaraj Pyakurel highlighted the issues of institutional improvement, technical input and cadre development for retrofit works. Mr. Pyakurel stated, "The way we did work for reconstruction may not work for retrofit. We need to have new approach. Earlier our technical responsibility was more to check and verify while now we also need guide and provide solutions to beneficiaries."

Nick Ledoux from USAID Nepal stressed on the need of standardizing the processes to ensure safe reconstruction. Mr. Ledoux highlighted the Baliyo Ghar approach of working for standardizing procedures, approaches and systems, raising awareness of various stakeholders; and building capacity of construction actors.

NSET Executive Director Mr. Surya Narayan Shrestha briefly mentioned about retrofit that NSET started to work from one school in Kathmandu back in 1997, and the shared that around 300 school buildings retrofitted till 2015 were tested by Gorkha Earthquake, and the result is that all school buildings could survive. Mr. Shrestha stress in the need of conducting campaigns for retrofit to improve seismic safety level of weak structures and also to standardize Retrofit Design & Works.

Earlier, Course Coordinator Mr. Ashish Tiwari had highlighted the participation and contents of the training. Total 33 Engineers from 26 districts including 26 from NRA (CLPIU/DLPIU) and rest from partner agencies completed the training course.

Sharing the reflections of participants, Ms. Sikshya Shrestha and Mr. Ajay Acharya extended their happiness to learn more on retrofit through this event. They showed the confidence and commitment to provide more support to retrofit beneficiaries in the affected areas.

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