KATHMANDU, Jan 31: Experts have stressed on raising public awareness on the benefits of building earthquake-resilient buildings at the community level as a strategy to reduce disaster risks in the long run.
Speaking at a program organized by the American Embassy at the Institute of Crisis Management Studies on Tuesday, Senior Regional Advisor of United States Agency for International Development's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) William Berger said that raising awareness about adopting safer building construction methods at the community level will help in creating demand for trained masons and other construction professionals. This, he said, would eventually have the community members seek experts for all types of construction needs and eventually play crucial role in risk reduction.
"We have been helping for decades to educate municipal authorities on the importance of enforcing building codes and in training engineers, masons, and other construction professionals on earthquake-safe construction. We encourage all involved in construction to build safer structures and most importantly for citizens to insist on safer buildings for their homes, their schools, their places of work," he said. Berger, who has 20 years of experience in humanitarian assistance in Asia, has responded to over 30 disasters on behalf of the US government.
He said that the USAID is committed to work with the government of Nepal in its efforts for disaster risk reduction and readiness. "Our goal is to support communities to meet immediate needs, through activities that support livelihoods and to educate affected populations and construction professionals on rebuilding safer structures. We also aim to support the government in implementing sound reconstruction policies and programs that provide assistance for communities to rebuild homes and critical public infrastructure." he said adding, it is of utmost importance to ensure that buildings reconstructed after the earthquake are built to withstand the next disaster.
Similarly, Meen Bahadur Poudyal Chhetri, president of Nepal Center for Disaster Management (NCDM), also stressed on the importance of investing in disaster preparedness stating that it will help in minimizing damages in case of disasters like the Gorkha Earthquake.