Post-Earthquake Home Reconstruction in the Surrounding Hills of Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, PRP 200
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In April of 2015, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck the Kathmandu Valley at the center of Nepal. Within the following year, Kathmandu was struck by a 7.3 magnitude earthquake and multiple aftershocks. The initial earthquake caused the deaths of 8,856 people, injured 22,309, and affected eight million more. Many agencies around the world came together to fund reconstruction efforts as part of a Nepal and a Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF). The MDTF conducted an Earthquake Housing Damage and Characteristics Survey (EHDC) which led to the creation of Nepal Rural Housing Reconstruction Program (NRHRP), which sought to reconstruct earthquake-resistant homes. The NRHRP developed a homeowner-driven grant process and established the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) to distribute housing reconstruction grants to families. Those grants were to be paid out via three tranches, each after the completion of a specific construction phase. During 2017, an international collaborative effort began among four parties: Hiroshima University (HU); Tribhuvan University (TU); Nepal’s Alternative Energy Promotion Center (AEPC); and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs (LBJ) of the University of Texas at Austin (UT). The team investigated the challenges and opportunities for reconstruction of homes in rural areas damaged by the 2015 earthquake in and around the hinterland of Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Within the context of a university course, students began by studying alternative building technologies (ABTs) being implemented in Nepal by local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). When project members visited Nepal in March 2017, they interviewed rural residents to identify barriers to home reconstruction. During a field study, the students also met with local governmental officials and NGO representatives. This report describes students’ field investigation in Nepal, background research on alternative building technologies (ABTs) for home reconstruction, and recommendations developed from consultation with stakeholders and technical advisors. The first chapter starts with the earthquake and its associated damage and describes the response of the Government of Nepal (GON) and the international community in forming the MDTF, the NRHRP, and the NRA. The second chapter discusses different alternative building technologies (ABTs) considered by the GON, including bamboo, hempcrete, rammed earth, Compressed Stabilized Earth Brick (CSEB), earthbags, and modified conventional housing. Each section describes the type of building style, its construction, materials and labor required, estimates of construction time (if available), costs, and a brief section on comparative advantages and disadvantages. The third chapter describes the 2017 field study in Nepal, included the locations of the field study and interviews and discussions with local NGOs, the governmental agencies, and local residents. The research group sought to learn whether a lack of affordable and appropriate building methods could explain why many villagers still live in temporary shelters. Village residents discussed barriers to housing reconstruction unrelated to the type of home being built. The final chapter presents conclusions from 2017 field study observations of the three villages. Researchers found four common barriers to reconstruction: the cost of transportation and materials; insufficient reconstruction incentives; grant processes with many procedural barriers to funding; and the need for consistent interaction of the community with governmental agencies. One suggestion is to evaluate the home reconstruction program to assess its procedures and outcomes. A second suggestion is for Nepal to enhance the number and authority of mobile teams of professionals to assist villagers seeking to reconstruct homes.
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