World

UN official says earthquake-hit Nepal needs to take lessons from Mexico, enforce building laws

  • A Nepalese man, whose house was damaged in the April 25 earthquake, plays a flute in a temporary shelter made out of galvanized sheet in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Tuesday, May 19, 2015. Nepal is facing billions in reconstruction costs with almost 745,600 buildings and homes damaged or destroyed, including at least 87,700 in the capital, according to Nepal’s emergency authority. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

    A Nepalese man, whose house was damaged in the April 25 earthquake, plays a flute in a temporary shelter made out of galvanized sheet in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Tuesday, May 19, 2015. Nepal is facing billions in reconstruction costs with almost 745,600 buildings and homes damaged or destroyed, including at least 87,700 in the capital, according to Nepal’s emergency authority. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Nepalese walks past a damaged house supported by wooden beams in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Tuesday, May 19, 2015. Nepal is facing billions in reconstruction costs with almost 745,600 buildings and homes damaged or destroyed, including at least 87,700 in the capital, according to Nepal’s emergency authority. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

    A Nepalese walks past a damaged house supported by wooden beams in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Tuesday, May 19, 2015. Nepal is facing billions in reconstruction costs with almost 745,600 buildings and homes damaged or destroyed, including at least 87,700 in the capital, according to Nepal’s emergency authority. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Nepalese man carries belongings salvaged from his house that was damaged in the April 25 earthquake in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Tuesday, May 19, 2015. Nepal is facing billions in reconstruction costs with almost 745,600 buildings and homes damaged or destroyed, including at least 87,700 in the capital, according to Nepal’s emergency authority. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

    A Nepalese man carries belongings salvaged from his house that was damaged in the April 25 earthquake in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Tuesday, May 19, 2015. Nepal is facing billions in reconstruction costs with almost 745,600 buildings and homes damaged or destroyed, including at least 87,700 in the capital, according to Nepal’s emergency authority. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)  (The Associated Press)

A senior United Nations official says Nepal should take lessons from countries like Mexico as it prepares to rebuild from two major earthquakes that killed thousands of people and damaged hundreds of thousands of structures.

U.N. Assistant Secretary-General Magdy Martinez-Soliman said Wednesday that existing building laws in Nepal need to strictly enforced.

Earthquakes on April 25 and May 12 killed at least 8,622 people and damaged 756,000 houses and buildings in Nepal.

Martinez-Soliman said good urban planning is vital in disaster-prone areas, something that Mexico learned after being hit with a 1985 quake that killed at least 9,500 people and flattened parts of Mexico City.

Nepal has banned construction of new buildings for two months and said it would review the existing building laws.