Article on the Nepali hazardscape

Critical Examination of Reconstruction in Muzaffarabad Can Provide Valuable Lessons for Nepal’s Efforts

Ajaya Dixit, Fawad Khan & Daanish Mustafa

May 14, 2015

The earthquakes that hit central Nepal since midday of April 25 have caused over 8,000 deaths and over 15,000 injuries, flattened hundred of thousands of homes, and disrupted community lives. Eighteen days after April 25, on May 12 midday, a similar high magnitude earthquake and its aftermath caused more deaths, injuries, and disrupted the efforts of Nepalis to pick up the pieces and rebuild.

Ten years ago, on October 6, 2005 at 08:50 Pakistan Standard Time, an earthquake of magnitude 7.6 struck Pakistan-administered Kashmir near the city of Muzaffarrbad. Until October 27, 2005, there were 978 aftershocks with a magnitude greater than 4.0. The aftershocks did very little damage because the principal rupture had already flattened settlements, crushed buildings, triggered landslides, and disrupted road connections across 30,000 sq km of Pakistan’s mountainous and highly-dispersed northwest terrain. The primary earthquake reduced Pakistan’s picturesque landscape to rubble in a matter of seconds. The huge numbers of deaths and casualties turned this disaster into the biggest humanitarian catastrophe in Pakistan’s history.

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