eKantipur, an online publication of the Kathmandu Post, recently documented the work of engineers organized by GFI and BCN in Nepal. The article details the scope and likely cause of damage to Nepali homes. The full text of the article can be viewed below.
KATHMANDU, MAY 22 - Only 20 percent of the 1,500 house inspected by the Global Fairness Initiative (GFI), the US-based non-profit organisation, were found uninhabitable due to extent of damage caused by the April 25 Great Quake.
The GFI has estimated that 40 percent house in Kathmandu Valley are safe to live while another 40 percent are in need of repair.
GFI estimation was based on initial report presented by a group of American structural engineers who carried out damage assessment of residence, hospitals and schools recently.
Though it is not a statistical sample, it suggests the level of the challenge.
The organisation plans to come up with detailed report of findings and share the observation of housing in Nepal and make recommendation after going through the statistics.
Engineers said most of the problems in urban areas stem from the growing trend among people to take clearance for one or two-storey house and later adding more flats without fulfilling the legal and technical requirements.
“There are of course problems with the old bricks and mud construction, but that’s not used too much today. The real problem is the number of people adding additional floors on houses not intended for additional floor,” said Scott Douglas, a structural engineer.
An initial study of the government found that most of the high rises destroyed during the earthquake had initially acquired clearance to build two or three-storey structures for residential use.
Homraj Acharya, country director for GFI, said a group of nine Americans and equal number of local engineers had provided free damage assessment service to 200 houses for one week. Acharya said they are deploying the engineers in cluster in various areas.
“They’re looking at as many houses as possible in a neighbourhood, and not just looking at the one who made the call.
A lot of times, people don’t know where to call or are too anxious to call, so we decided to take that approach so that as many people as possible have the benefit of the engineers’ experiences,” said Acharya.
The GFI has also submitted a detailed plan for stabilisation of Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square at the request of the Nepal government and Unesco.
Read the full article on the eKantipur website here.