Nepal earthquake: Should we pay more attention to building of earthquake resistant constructions?

One way to manage the risk is to build earthquake resistant constructions, but it is limited by the economic conditions. So would you say that maybe also international community should pay more attention to it and perhaps help to build earthquake resistant constructions in the most risky areas? Read few comments.

Daniel Aldrich, Professor, University Faculty Scholar, Director of Asian Studies, Purdue University

Earthquake resistant construction is a great way to reduce risk during natural disasters. However, for long time resilience and for true recovery, we’ll need to invest in more than just physical infrastructure. Nepal and other developing nations need more than just better concrete: they need better governance, strong civil society, better horizontal connections between citizens, and better human capital as well. In short, better developed, more democratic, and more open nations suffer fewer casualties from earthquakes, tsunami, and other events than less open, less democratic, and less developed ones.

Larry Ruff, Professor of Seismology, University of Michigan

It is more of an economic, political, and even cultural question. In many cases, you can show people a better way to build something, and it may even be just as cheap as their traditional method, but when you go away, they go back to the traditional method!

There are some positive stories though. A group of engineers found a better way to use adobe bricks with some cheap reinforcement materials, and showed the local people in  South America. The local people switched their new construction to this better design, and those structures had a better survival rate in the last large earthquake there. So there is hope!

Mathias Raschke, Independent Researcher with expertise in Geoscience, Engineering, Mathematics

I have not a clear position to your idea. A helpful aid could be to focus the attention to appropriate hazard reduction by earthquake resistance design. But I doubt that a larger economic aid from international community can reduce the problems significantly. We will never achieve total security against natural hazards.

Thomas Milller, Associate Professor, School of Civil and Construction Engineering, Oregon State University

I don’t know if the UN or World Bank are interested in this important problem or have funds to address it. I do know that other countries, including the US, often respond with various forms of relief after EQs. It would be wonderful if the international community could help with this problem in designing for earthquakes in countries who have not traditionally done so in a substantial way.

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