Home International Demolition of damaged buildings becomes a tall order for Nepal

Demolition of damaged buildings becomes a tall order for Nepal

By Anil Giri,

Kathmandu : Knocking down thousands of multi-storeyed buildings damaged in the April 25 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks — which are posing serious threat to life and property in urban areas of Nepal — has became a tall order for the Nepal government to manage.

On the one hand, the buildings are posing serious threat to life and property and on the other, government officials maintain that they do not have proper and adequate technology and expertise to knock them down.

On May 13, the Nepal government formed a team led by the ministry of urban development (MoUD) along with the Nepal Army (NA) to demolish quake-damaged buildings in Kathmandu and Lalitpur districts in the Kathmandu Valley — which was most adversely affected in last month’s devastating temblor and its aftermath.

As an immediate measure, 500 buildings in Kathmandu and Lalitpur districts needed to be demolished in the first phase. In the second phase, more buildings were to be demolished gradually.

But officials said they were struggling due to lack of high-tech equipment or technology to demolish buildings taller than three-storeys that pose threat to life and property in their vicinity.

After the shortcomings of such technology, the country’ home ministry has asked the foreign and finance ministries to make necessary arrangements for such high-end technology — either by fast procurement or seek assistance from India, China, the US, Japan or other countries.

The authorities, however, are yet to decide on the ways to pull down high-rise apartments and buildings damaged by the quake. They also said that, including high-end technology, Nepal needed trained manpower if such high-rise buildings are to be demolished.

In a press meet on Monday, Nepal’s Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey said the government was talking to neighbouring and friendly countries, including India, China and Japan, if they could provide such equipment.

“We need to have a controlled-demolition strategy to demolish all such high-rise risky structures,” he said, adding that the government has asked its diplomatic missions abroad to seek such equipment from the host countries.

He pointed out that some people were killed when buried under debris while they were salvaging their belongings from collapsed structures.

The foreign ministry has already made informal requests to India, China, the US and Japan to provide equipment to carry out demolition of risky high-rise buildings.

(Anil Giri can be contacted at [email protected])