People Tree are currently fundraising £50k to help rebuild the homes of one of our partner groups, KTS, who were badly affected by the recent earthquakes. [For more information about what happened, please see our previous blog]

We wanted to update our supporters on how KTS are managing post-earthquakes.

One of our supporters asked us for more information about whether the rebuilding of their homes would be earthquake proof. To answer this, we contacted KTS and we thought that you would like to see their reply:

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  1. Are the homes we are hoping to help rebuild already under construction?

The rebuilding work has not started yet. At present, the houses that have partially collapsed and badly damaged are being demolished. They are not officially allowed to rebuild their houses, because our government stopped to provide construction permits. Therefore the rebuilding work may start from after July only.

  1. How much does it cost to rebuild one home?

It is quite difficult to say what the exact amount is. However, to build a house from new materials, using concrete and earthquake proofing, it will cost around GBP 5,000 to 10,000 depending on the area and family size.

  1. Which companies are involved in rebuilding the houses? Is there a particular NGO/ construction company involved? Do they need specific materials donated in kind?

Normally, people are hiring skilled construction workers and oversee the construction themselves. There are many companies and NGOs that have been involved in building temporary settlements and rebuilding small homes in the villages. However, we have not heard of any company working in the cities. People have to do it by themselves. We would welcome building materials such as iron rod, cement, sand, bricks and other building materials as donation in kind. We would also welcome the expertise of building techniques that are earthquake proof and low cost.

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  1. What steps are being taken to rebuild housing and other structures as ‘earthquake proof’ (as possible?)

Our government is introducing a new housing policy which will take into consideration “earthquake proof” house. Government are working on it and planning to make it effective from July. Until then, they have stopped all constructions and building construction approval.

 

In finding out more about earthquake proofing, People Tree contacted an expert, Dr Paul Jaquin, a Senior Structural Engineer, who is currently based in New Zealand and we asked him to compare his experience of what’s happening in New Zealand, since their big earthquake and to compare this with the current situation in Nepal:

“In my experience, it’s pretty easy to make the new buildings earthquake ‘proof’, if they are simple mshapes and not too tall, and made with the right materials (not unreinforced masonry). This has happened in parts of the Kathmandu valley, and in New Zealand it’s pretty straightforward. The issue is the current building stock, there are 4000 unreinforced masonry buildings in NZ, and the plan is to either strengthen them or knock them down because they are too dangerous. These are the types of building which killed the most people in Nepal. You find too, that after an earthquake, there is much more opportunity and willingness to rebuild properly, but it’s difficult to do this in places that haven’t yet had a big shake. There are definitely simple quick things to do, like replace all the school roofs with lightweight steel that doesn’t shake off in a quake. Things are happening in Nepal at a government level, but really I think things will happen bottom up there, and it might be a case of knock down and start again, which is the plan for big bits of Christchurch.”

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We will be working with KTS to ensure that support is given for this rebuilding to happen as quickly as possible from July. We very much appreciate all your support. If you would like to donate, please do so here: http://campaign.justgiving.com/charity/peopletreefoundation/nepal