In a writ petition filed by this author, the Supreme Court of Nepal has directed the government of Nepal on September 9 to establish a geological research center. This order by the Supreme Court has a far-reaching consequence considering the fragile geological structure of Nepal. The relevancy of this directive is increasing as many studies including the study of John Elliott of Oxford University also showed that the country, especially the capital, has an extreme chance of facing a strong earthquake in the near future.
The fault line and liquefaction which occurred in several parts of Nepal after the massive earthquake on April 25 has established, beyond doubt, that geological study of large scale is an urgent need of Nepal in order to understand the geological nature of the land, mountains, rivers, and lakes situated on highlands to save the population from natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, landslides, glaciers, and debris flow. But we do not have any comprehensive geological research center to study, monitor and inform the public about these.
Huge loss of lives and property may occur which otherwise would have been averted. Such a center can opt for installing earthquake early warning system like in Japan and Taiwan to give the information about the possibility of earthquake a few seconds or minutes before the earthquake strikes. Even a warning issued a few seconds earlier can make the public alert, warn hospitals, airports and other emergency service providers to be ready to deal with emergency situations to save life and property. Such warnings can be issued through radio, television, and mobile phones to the public.
Different individuals and groups of so-called experts on radio, television, and daily papers with different and sometimes even with unscientific views would confuse and mislead the public. This is what happened after the April earthquake in Nepal. If Nepal had such a center, then such confusion would not have occurred, as a specific and consistent message would have been disseminated to all.
We have failed to learn from our past and even from the experience of other countries and have not come out yet in establishing such study centers. Let us hope the government will immediately take necessary actions to establish a comprehensive geological research center in Nepal to respect the directives of Supreme Court.
Thapa is a lawyer specialising in disaster management
A version of this article appears in print on January 15, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.