By Piyoosh Rautela
The author is Executive Director, Disaster Mitigation and Management Centre, Uttarakhand Secretariat, Dehradun, firstname.lastname@example.org
Traditional building techniques have always existed in regions vulnerable to earthquakes. Unfortunately, aspirations to modernity have tended to bury these norms, resulting in heavy casualties in recent times.
Just as other tectonically active regions of the world, Uttarakhand too has witnessed devastating earthquakes in 1720 (Kumaun Earthquake), 1803 (Garhwal Earthquake), besides the Uttarkashi and Chamoli earth-quakes in 1991 and 1999. Despite these, hundred year old multi-storied houses are common in the region. Barring cattle sheds, single storied structures are practically never built. Both Kumauni and Garhwali have distinct words for the four different floors of a house, linguistics suggesting the prevalence of multi storied houses since ancient times....