LETTERS: Prepare for the worst

Apropos of the news story “Quake fault straining underneath Kathmandu: Study” (THT, Jan. 13, Page 1), it is yet another alarming bell for Kathmanduites that yet another massive earthquake may strike the valley leaving more destruction and damage. A study carried out by lead author John Elliott of Oxford University has warned that another large scale quake like that of the April 25 may occur within years or decades rather than centuries. He has said that this could happen because the rupture shooting upward through the fault line from deep below stopped abruptly 11 kilometres beneath the Kathmandu Valley. This means that a small amount of pressure was released in last year’s quake and the additional amount of energy is yet to be released.This is a wake-up call for all of us to be fully prepared for the worst likely to happen within years or decades or even in a century. Nobody knows when and with what intensity the next quake may hit the Himalayan region. But what we must know is the fact that we must be fully prepared for the rescue, relief and rehabilitation works. All our state mechanisms must be kept on a standby to deal with such a situation that might cause more damage and destruction than the last year. Everybody knows that the Indian plate is slowly moving – about two inches per year – towards the Tibetan plate pushing the Himalayan range further upward. In order to be safe from future quakes we need to build our infrastructure resilient to such temblor. It is the man-made structure, not the quake, that kills many people and causes colossal damage. So, all kinds of infrastructure – private or public – must be made resilient to major quakes to minimize the damage and save precious human lives. For this, the government must strictly implement the recently enacted housing code without any compromise on their quality and must ensure adequate open space so that people can find shelter in the event of such disasters.

Raghav Raj Joshi, Butwal    


Apropos of brief news story “Man dies in accident” (THT, Jan. 9, Page 2), bikes have become a deadly menace, a killer machine of pedestrians in the valley. Having never seen anything like that back in their villages, these young thugs are clearly mentally incapacitated to ride Indian bikes of awkward shapes and sizes. If the government does not do something about it, the bikers will start killing and maiming a lot of pedestrians or will be getting themselves killed by the equally thuggish Tatamobiles and trucks. Speed is thrill for all these ruffians and unless speed is curtailed through law, bad roads or permanent mechanical changes in the bikes and vehicles, more deaths will occur on the streets of Kathmandu. It is time that the driving and riding tests for license include stringent psychological and mental fitness test.

Manohar Shrestha,