Earthquake vulnerability of Kathmandu: A product of failed building permits system and urban development


  • Bijaya K. Shrestha Purbanchal University


natural hazard, earthquake vulnerability, urbanisation, haphazard growth, urban development, preparedness, emergency facility


Numerous activities associated with present trend of rapid urbanisation and haphazard urban (re)development in the historic core area as well as in the peripheral agricultural lands of Kathmandu are responsible for increasing earthquake vulnerability, exposing higher percentage of population under seismic hazard, and decreasing the capacity of urban and emergency services to cope with disaster in many ways. Absence of disaster management institution at local and central levels, lack of earthquake mitigation and urban development related legislation together with low level of community preparedness and public awareness have not only intensified the rate of conversion of city into a hazardous zone but have also resulted in loss of the opportunity to build safer community in newly developed areas. As the geophysical processes of the natural hazard can not be changed, integration of earthquake mitigation component and technique into urban development process is the key in reducing earthquake vulnerability of Kathmandu. For it, establishment of disaster management institution at central level backed by new legislation to formulate earthquake mitigation technique, emergency response plan, and post reconstruction program by coordinating various concerned agencies, on one hand, and enhancement of community’s preparedness by retrofitting the existing buildings, preparing rescue and response plan, educating and training those involved in building industry together with bringing public awareness at local ward level, on the other hand, is essential.

Nepalese Journal of Engineering Vol.1(1) 2005 pp.25-38


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Author Biography

Bijaya K. Shrestha, Purbanchal University

Department of Architecture, Nepal Engineering College, Purbanchal University, Bhaktapur, Nepal

How to Cite

Shrestha, B. K. (2005). Earthquake vulnerability of Kathmandu: A product of failed building permits system and urban development. Nepalese Journal of Engineering, 1(1), 25–38. Retrieved from