As a long-time supporter of Nepalese academics, INASP was deeply saddened to learn of the country’s devastating recent earthquakes. We have been pleased to hear news that our partners are safe, and are playing crucial roles in the ongoing relief effort.
With aid and volunteers flooding into urban and rural Nepal, it is essential that local knowledge informs reconstruction efforts. INASP’s NepJOL has fostered Nepalese research on a wide range of sustainability issues, including natural hazards such as earthquakes. One by Harihar Paudyal in 2012 warned that the region was “highly compressed”, with dire potential consequences for future seismic activity. Another by Bijaya K. Shrestha in 2005 detailed how poor urban planning has exacerbated Kathmandu’s vulnerability to tremors, with the author spotlighting “haphazard urban (re)development in the historic core area.”
Beyond local knowledge, much can also be learned from other developing countries. Nearby Bangladesh also suffers from earthquakes, and INASP’s BanglaJOL has featured many articles by Bangladeshi academics on the challenges these pose for risk management, building design and urbanization more broadly. These have shown how disaster mitigation strategies work best when developed collaboratively with communities, whose awareness of local topology and architecture are rich resources.
INASP looks forward to continuing its support for Nepal’s development, with both planning for the long-term sustainability of the NepJOL journal platform and access to international academic literature, and short-term donations to meet urgent needs.