One week before the deadly earthquake in Nepal on 25 April, a group of 50 scientists met in the country's capital Kathmandu to discuss measures in case of an earthquake. Experts had been warning for years that Nepal was at serious risk, and authorities knew it too - they just didn't know where to start, although some progress was being made.
They ended up being too late, as a mainshock of 7.8 magnitude tore the country apart on April 25th, the worst earthquake to hit the country in 80 years. But with such a violent and unpredictable event, is there anything a country can do in terms of prevention? Yes and no.
"Of course earthquakes cannot be prevented," renowned seismologist Lucy Jones tells Blasting News. "However, the damage can be reduced by building better buildings," she explains. In fact, their deadly effect is mostly man-controlled, as a big part of the deaths come from buildings collapsing, killing, and burying victims. Just one week before the disaster, Hari Ghi's group Geohazards International made a full update on a report from the 90's describing the risks at the Kathmandu Valley. Among the worst, the rampant construction of homes and infrastructures with no earthquake-related security and the high concentration of population in danger zones were highlighted.
The region is known for its seismic activity, and Nepal alone suffered four major earthquakes in the past 200 years before being struck again in 2015. Worst even, a major quake might happen again, and Dr. Jones warns more aftershocks are expected to come. #Nature