In the Shadow of the Himalaya: Assessing Nepal's Use of School Retrofitting as Catalyst for Earthquake Risk Reduction

Rebekah Paci-Green

Associate Professor, Huxley College of the Environment

Start Time & Date

Start Time & Date

Photo by R. Paci-Green

WWU classes for Spring, 2020 are being taught online. As such, the Huxley Speaker Series is revisiting favorite presentations from the Archives.

This talk was originally presented as part of the Huxley Speaker Series in Spring 2016.


Dr. Rebekah Paci-Green will discuss earthquake risk reduction in Nepal. Nepalese communities live on top of the world’s most active seismic zone. For the last two decades, organizations have attempted to reduce the impacts of these events by strengthening Nepalese public schools using a variety low-cost retrofitting and community development strategies. The April 2015 Gorkha earthquake, a massive magnitude M9.0 event, damaged over 90 percent of the schools in the effected region and put these school retrofitting projects to the ultimate test. Three months after the earthquake, Dr. Paci-Green and colleague Dr. Bishnu Pandey assessed these projects against match-paired sites without intervention, using a mixed methods approach of visual inspection, damage transects and semi-structured interviews with stakeholder groups. Their research documented both instances of success, and a range of challenges. In her talk titled, “In the Shadow of the Himalaya: Assessing Nepal’s use of school retrofitting as catalysts for earthquake risk reduction,” Paci-Green will describe a framework for Nepal’s post-earthquake reconstruction based on her research team’s findings.

Rebekah Paci-Green

Dr. Paci-Green is an Associate Professor at Huxley College of the Environment and Director of the Resilience Institute at Western Washington University. She received her PhD from Cornell University where she combined structural engineering and anthropology to study physical and social vulnerability and risk perceptions in informal districts of Istanbul, Turkey. In addition to her work in Nepal, Paci-Green has worked with community-based organizations in Turkey, India, and Central Asia to develop and implement disaster risk reduction education material.

More Information

The Huxley Environmental Speaker Series is hosted by Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University.

The Series is free and open to the public.

Location & Time

Presentations are held each Thursday at 4:30pm On-campus and ONLINE.


Due to the pandemic, the in-person presentations are not open to the public. However, the talks will be live-streamed ONLINE for the off-campus audience.


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