Five Years on From the Earthquake in Nepal, Heritage-Led Recovery is Uniting Community

Planning for a disaster: Model can predict hospital resilience for natural disasters, pandemics

When a natural disaster like an earthquake strikes, a community can literally be shaken to its core. One way to assess how well and how quickly that community recovers is to measure how, and how quickly, its hospitals and wider healthcare systems can become fully functional again and take care of its patients. Predicting the trajectory of that recovery is no easy task.

That’s because the resilience measures of a healthcare system are dizzyingly complex. They span everything from the availability of hospital staff, to the protection of critical equipment, to the state of the roads for ambulances to travel on, to the efficiency by which hospitals can transfer critically ill patients to different hospitals….


Five Years on From the Earthquake in Nepal, Heritage-Led Recovery is Uniting Community

Bhaktapur Durbar Square in January 2020. Photo: Vanicka Arora, Author provided

Since the Gorkha earthquake killed almost 9,000 people in April 2015, Nepal has been on a slow and arduous route to recovery. Nepal’s vibrant cultural heritage of monuments, religious places, crafts, festivals and traditional practices has been key to this process.

Heritage reconstruction in Nepal has been prioritised in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kathmandu Valley and received vast amounts of international assistance. But this reconstruction has also become the source of growing tensions between global institutions, national politics and local aspirations.

Bhaktapur city is home to one of seven monument zones of the valley. It has been undertaking a novel form of locally led recovery, focusing on built heritage to restore its tourist potential and – more importantly – rebuild community life and the resilience of residents…


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