Nepal earthquake – should more have been done to prepare?

On my way back from visiting our projects in Zimbabwe and just arrived in Johannesburg airport. I landed to hear the devastating news of the Nepalese earthquake. Over 1,000 people dead and I suspect from what I know of Kathmandu, that the death toll will most certainly rise.

Thankfully we have been able to get news that all Practical Action staff are safe. People still very scared, feeling the aftershocks and trying desperately to find out about family and friends.  We are hearing that our staff and of course lots of others in Nepal all doing all they can help.

News is difficult to gather as everyone there is right at the heart of the disaster trying to do what they can.

What I can’t get out of my head is an article I read a couple of years ago almost predicting today’s devastation – imagining what would happen if a major earthquake were to hit Kathmandu  http://www.irinnews.org/report/97925/imagining-a-major-quake-in-kathmandu – reading it again just now I noticed that the article was published on 26th April 2013… almost 2 years ago to the day, which sent a bit of a shiver down my spine.

In Nepal at the time it was easy to imagine how such a quake would impact on the old, closely woven streets and traditional buildings. What was almost impossible to contemplate was the impact of such an earthquake on the most vulnerable, those without any protection often living in cramped, inadequate housing.

Sitting here in an airport I feel completely unable to help. I also feel hugely saddened that while so many people knew this scale of earthquake was inevitable so little was done to help people prepare.

More news from the Practical Action team as and when we get it.

Margaret

News update 26 April

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