World Economy

Brick Business Booms in Nepal

Brick Business Booms in NepalBrick Business Booms in Nepal

The worn-out workers of Jaya Mayaswori Brick Factory are packing clay and hauling loads with a new sense of purpose — helping to rebuild Nepal after a series of massive earthquakes and aftershocks ravaged the Himalayan nation, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.

There is urgency to the back-breaking work. Nepal was crippled by last month’s magnitude-7.8 earthquake, which killed more than 8,000, while a string of strong aftershocks has further terrified the survivors. The capital of Kathmandu is in shambles. Entire villages are flattened into rubble and dust. And many businesses have shut down, leaving survivors scrambling for income, ABC News reported.

The brick factories clustered in Bhaktapur, a town on the outskirts of Kathmandu, are some of the few businesses still running. For the owners and workers who have not fled back to their villages, that means there is still a chance of earning daily wages and profits.

Though many of the factories have also been damaged, with kiln towers toppled and workers’ housing destroyed, those who remain are laboring overtime before the anticipated rush for construction materials.

He expects the price of bricks to go up, from a pre-quake level of about 17 US cents to as much as 25 cents. But he insists he will not profit from the tragedy by raising his prices.

Nepal faces billions in reconstruction costs, and has appealed for foreign governments and agencies for help. Almost 745,600 buildings and homes have been damaged or destroyed, including at least 87,700 in the capital, according to Nepal’s emergency authority. Engineers say only 40 percent of Kathmandu’s damaged buildings as habitable.