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Quake engineer returns to Nepal to learn from disaster

Cal State Fullerton geotechnical engineer Binod Tiwari looks grim as he surveys the damage around the Katmandu Valley after Nepal's April 25 quake. (Molly Hennessy-Fiske / Los Angeles Times)

Cal State Fullerton geotechnical engineer Binod Tiwari looks grim as he surveys the damage around the Katmandu Valley after Nepal’s April 25 quake. (Molly Hennessy-Fiske / Los Angeles Times)

As trucks and motorcycles whiz by, Tiwari, wearing a fluorescent yellow vest over his Cal State Fullerton shirt, raises his camera to snap photographs of the crack. A bridge nearby shows similar fractures, and Tiwari walks alongside it to check some nearby homes that tip perilously forward. “Definitely has lateral spreading,” he mutters as he snaps photos. At times, he props a yellow ruler or his cellphone next to the cracks to measure them…

 

Raising awareness of natural disasters

NATURAL disasters reveal much of our weaknesses and frailties. Our failings in great moments of crisis may prove to be turning points in history. The Japanese have this proverb about bending adversity and transforming bad fortune into good. The Japanese never cease to fascinate us. For one, they have developed a national consciousness on disasters — both by default and by design. They have learnt, internalised and practised their geography — a geography that is hostile, and certainly not enviable, especially from how Malaysia sees the world…

 

Natural disasters threaten climbing

The climbing season in Nepal encountered massive disaster for the second straight year, as 18 people died in an avalanche at Mount Everest Base Camp triggered by the April 25 earthquake. Eighteen mountaineers also died on Everest in an avalanche in April last year, 16 of them Sherpa guides. The twin disasters have cast doubt over the future of another season on the world’s highest mountain. It is still unclear how the government will react. Officials are busy dealing with the larger disaster of the earthquake that caused more than 8,700 deaths nationwide…

 

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