New settlements to consider natural disaster risks

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 15, 2015-

The Ministry of Urban Development and Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development have come up with a comprehensive criteria for development of new settlements and building construction aimed at minimising risks of natural disasters such as earthquake.

The proposed Settlement Development, Urban Planning and Building Construction Criteria 2015 is a set of standards for property development projects build specifically around the concept of safety from hazards.  

The massive destruction of housings and settlements during the recent earthquake disaster led the government to realise the need of incorporating adequate measures including basic standards to be implemented while developing new settlements wherever required to accommodate growing population.  Around 7,000 affected and vulnerable households from 14 most affected districts to earthquake were relocated by the government in safer locations after being threatened of lives due to potential natural disasters this year.  

The proposed settlement development, urban planning and building construction criteria 2015 prepared by the Ministry of Urban Development and Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD) under discussion has realized the need of basic standards to be followed while considering identification and development of new settlements in the coming days.

As per the proposal, the authorities and concerned local bodies would encourage planning and development of settlements only in those areas which are in lower risk prone in terms of earthquake, landslide, flood and other related natural disasters.

Similarly, while identifying safer areas for settlements three basic indicators including the level of risks related with flood, landslide and earthquake would be considered before deciding on whether to build new settlement in the particular area, said Ramesh Singh, deputy director general at Department of Urban Development (DoUD).  The proposed criterion is under discussion and if endorsed by the government, it would be implemented soon.

Other fundamental aspects that would be considered while developing new settlements include feasibility of access of services and resources such as drinking water, road and electricity along with economic opportunities, study on socio-economic condition and encourage construction of housings that showcase traditional and local architecture. Similarly, while considering relocation of the settlements during post disaster phase, the authorities should focus on land areas which are suitable for settlements, according to the proposed criteria.

The haphazard and unplanned development activities both in construction and human settlements sectors, without considering the disasters, the country is facing challenges in terms of reducing the risks related with various natural disasters, according to planners.

Published: 16-08-2015 10:01

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