Aid to Nepal is ‘band-aid’, death toll could reach 10,000
A CENTRAL Queensland expert dubbed the Australian Government aid to earthquake-struck Nepal a "band-aid" measure and said the country needed help building more resilient infrastructure.
The death toll from the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck an area between Kathmandu and Pokhara on Saturday was more than 4000 on Tuesday afternoon.
Nepal's Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on Tuesday predicted the death toll could reach 10,000.
The earthquake caused avalanches on Mount Everest, as did a powerful aftershock on Sunday.
CQUniversity adjunct professor and Australian Earthquake Engineering Society president Kevin McCue said rebuilding Nepalese buildings as they were would achieve nothing.
"The tragedy is that homes and shops in Nepal will be rebuilt from the rubble in the same style as the former home. The next earthquake will knock it down again," he said.
"The Australian Government is sending band-aids.
"What the people need is education and now is when they need it, education and demonstrations on how to make their buildings more resilient before they rebuild.
"Some good Australian reinforcing steel would be very useful, that and the tools to use it to reinforce their masonry buildings.
"They need a Building Code including a hazard map, unlike the draft Nepal standard from 1993 which rates the hazard about the same as Sydney and Melbourne and has never been adopted let alone been subject to enforced regulation."
Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop said more than 1000 Australians in Nepal had been confirmed safe but at least one died in the Everest avalanche.
She was not sure how many Australians were there when it hit.
Oxfam announced on Tuesday they would provide clean water, toilets and shelter in earthquake-affected areas, aiming to assist 350,000 people.
The aid organisation warned earthquake survivors faced a second disaster with contaminated water and a lack of sanitation providing a potentially deadly double threat.