If it was not a Saturday, the death toll of 8,890 in the 2015 earthquake would have been several times higher. More than 7,000 schools were either destroyed or severely damaged in the quake.
“Public memory of a disaster usually lasts four years, and people now are a lot less careful about raw material and construction methods,” adds Pokhrel.
Increasing urban pressure has meant that people in Kathmandu and other cities have forgotten the lessons learned, and have gone back to constructing substandard structures flouting building codes.
Warns NSET’s Shrestha: “We are haphazardly building concrete structures again. The next earthquake above 8 magnitude probable in western Nepal could be a catastrophe.”
In Kathmandu Valley, the rebuilding of ancient towns like Sankhu, Bungamati, Harisiddhi and Tokha that were destroyed in 2015 has been slower than that of the Darbar Squares of Patan or Bhaktapur. And here the challenge is to maintain the original architectural heritage of the historic towns.
Harisiddhi was the first town to come up with a technical proposal to retain its traditional Newa skyline, but without much success, admits engineer Bijay Maharjan.
Read also: Rebuilding resilience 7 years later, Anil Pokhrel