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Nepal: 30th most vulnerable country for flood and landslide

NIRJANA SHARMA

APR 17 –

Koshi Flood 2008

As a resident of the 30th most vulnerable country in flood and landslide, every Nepali, be it from the low land of Tarai or the hilly slopes, is prone to the disasters. The record of casualties and property loss over a decade shows there has been an improvement in disaster preparedness though there is a lot more to be done as lasting measures.

Flood and landslide have claimed 2004 lives since 2001 in addition to an estimated loss of properties worth Rs 10 billion. Thousands of people were left homeless while some 21,580 hectares of fertile land was rendered uncultivable in the period.

In 2000, flood and landslide caused huge losses of lives and infrastructure damage nationwide. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, 112 people were killed with more than 50,000 affected in the year. The massive devastation of livestock and crops remains unaccounted for.

Following the request for an emergency assistance by the government, the Japanese government had immediately decided to extend an emergency grant of $300,000 US dollars. The government was simply unprepared for the disaster, a sure thing in the fragile topography like Nepal’s. The raging armed conflict also crippled whatever mitigating mechanisms the government or the non-government sector had at their disposal.

After 10 years in 2011, floods and landslides claimed 159 lives in 70 of the 75 districts in the country within the three-month long rainy season, according to MoHA’s National Disaster Management Section. Though the government has activated several mechanisms from the centre to the ground, people’s suffering has not yet lessened.

Last year, the government recorded 62 people missing in floods and landslides whereas 2,386 people (445 families) were displaced from their home and livelihoods despite all the rescue efforts led by security personnel and volunteers. Last year, over 50 institutions, including a number of government bodies, UN agencies, Nepal Red Cross Society and district-based humanitarian organisations, were effortful to reduce the disaster risk and bolster the overall rescue system. A huge amount of money was allocated as a joint effort of UN agencies and other relief agencies.

The government is said to be greasing its rescue mechanism in affected areas in the rainy season. “But challenges remain in avoiding the magnitude of casualties. The government needs to begin its preparations before a disaster strikes,” said Rameshor Tangal, undersecretary at the MoHA Disaster Management Section.

The whole management system works as a three-phase mechanism from the centre to the local level focussing on flood and landslide related disasters. The Ministry of Local Development is responsible for the preparations, coordination with the MoHA, UN agencies, Red Cross Society and other rescue and relief agencies.

The MoHA coordinates with the stakeholders that are tasked by the MoLD with disaster response. Personnel from the Nepal Police, the Armed Police Force and the Nepal Army, aided by relief agencies, play an inevitable role in relocating victims to temporary camps, supplying food, medicines and other basic needs.

Finally, the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works, Ministry of Agriculture, National Planning Commission and the MoLD are responsible for addressing the victims’ problems in the long term. This has remained the most complex phase. Most of the victims are rural people who are directly dependent on agriculture. Several studies on impacts of natural disasters on a particular locality show that desertification of land leads these people to poverty from a decent living earned by livestock farming and agriculture. It’s the poor who are hit the hardest by such a disaster.

The havoc wreaked by the bursting of the Koshi embankment in Sunsari in 2008 is the most prominent example. The disaster affected 20,831 families, destroyed or damaged 15,000 houses, killed or injured 6,895 animals, and left 21,016 hectares of land uncultivable with an estimated loss of Rs 1.54 billion. People owning large areas of land became penniless with an abrupt end to their traditional incomes.

Preparedness must as landslips,
floods take most lives in Nepal

Source: http://www.ekantipur.com (The Kathmandu Post Daily)

Link: http://www.ekantipur.com/2012/04/17/development/preparedness-must-as-landslips-floods-take-most-lives/352464.html

http://www.ekantipur.com/the-kathmandu-post/2012/04/16/development/preparedness-must-as-landslips-floods-take-most-lives/233842.html

Posted on: 2012-04-17 08:30

Flood vulnerable Pathariya VDC sets example in disaster risk reduction

NIRJANA SHARMA

PATHARIYA(Kailali), Sept 16

Collective effort of locals, government and different political and social organizations is bearing fruit as the residents of Pathariya VDC say they are self-dependant to reduce disaster risk in their region.

As resident of one of the flood vulnerable area of the district that is itself under the torrent threat, the locals have prepared themselves to make the strategic choices that affect their lives. Mostly affected by the Karnali River, also 23 small rivers and stream merge with each other causing flood in rainy season in the of far-western districts.

In the flood occurred in 2008, two people were killed whereas 10 houses and three bridges were swept away along with cattle and land in the Pathariya VDC. “The devastation we faced five years ago is still fresh in our memory so we are participating in emergency responding training to save our lives and basic requirement if such disasters occurs again,” said Phool Rani Kushmi of Pathariya-3, Amauri.

The VDC office has distinguished that 11 communities among total 34 are at mostly at risk as per which four different emergency responding committees have been formed as a part of disaster risk reduction, said the VDC secretary Mahesh Raj Regmi. “The most vulnerable communities are being trained by the CARE Nepal in coordination with local government and non-government organizations whereas rest 23 communities are in safety preparation under our leadership,” he said. Kulhariya, Mohna and Dhaubitiyar River mainly flood the VDC.

Regmi informed that 162 volunteers are working in the Pathriya VDC that homes total 22,439 populations at present. Four separate emergency respond committees have been formed that enhances the risk reduction process in family, community and schools level, effective and functional community based early warning system established, functioning and institutionalizing.

To attest their skills on acting immediately, 400 locals of Pathariya recently demonstrated a mock drill where all the households of Palbazar community took part. “We participate in a mock drill in a certain time gap so that we can work more effectively when there is flood in village,” said Sunita Chaudhary, member of pre-information committee of the community. Generally, there are four to six members in each respond committees.

She further explained that pre-information committee members inform the community when to remain alert or leave their home and move to safe shelter when water level overflows in the river. Dressed with life jackets, search and rescue committee is responsible to search and save the victims drowning in flood water.

Likewise, first aid committee members provide primary treatment to the flood victims and carry them to health posts and fourth one is responsible to manage safer shelter to elderly, disabled people and pregnant women.

Another local Bhadduwa Kathariya, 45 of Palbazar shared his experience saying, “Few years ago, we used to run away empty hands and climb on the trees to save lives. But now, we are capable of saving our belongings such as important documents clothes and food due to pre-information about flood,” said Kathariya.

The people living in western Nepal have several experience of flooding. Flood occurred in 2008 in Kailali killed 15 people whereas 28 went missing. The data available at the Ministry of Home and Affairs (MoHA) estimates that at least 16000 houses of 39 VDcs and two municipalities were affected and 15,019 families were displaced in the districts. Tikapur municipality, Lalbhoj, Satbigha and Pathriya VDCs were also one of the most affected districts in the flood.

Similarly, 10 people were killed, 125 displaced, and seven went missing in the district last year. At least 25 houses were damaged whereas 10 were injured in the disaster, according to the MoHA.

 Source: Republica DailyLink: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=41813
Published on 2012-09-16 04:44:22

Many unaware 101 is fire brigade phone number

NIRJANA SHARMA

KATHMANDU, Aug 15: After the country´s oldest fire station Juddha Fire Brigade (JFB) received five additional fire trucks from different countries, the authority has moved a step forward to bridge a communication gap with a community.

The JFB´s survey on public awareness regarding the fire response mechanism in the Capital found 80 percent of the respondents were unaware of 101, a toll free number to call fire truck at the time of fire related disaster.

The survey sampled among 150 people in New Baneshor, Anamnagar, Marutole and the students of Padmodaya Higher Secondary School found 120 respondents were unaware about the importance to call on the toll free number whenever fire brokeout in their neighborhood.

“I know we have a fire station in town but I have no idea about their toll free number, I would rather call the police in case I see fire in my locality,” responded Lokendra Chhantyal, 17, a resident of Marutole. His locality lies right next to JFB.

Leela Raj Gachha Magar, chief of the JFB said that most of the people also did not know what services fire brigade provides the community. “We prepared 12 questionnaires to guage their knowledge about us and their expectations,” said Magar.

A study by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Centre (NDRC), Nepal revealed that fire related disaster killed 12 people in Kathmandu Valley last year. Similarly, around 1,500 fire-related incidents occur in the country every year that claim an average of 43 lives and destroy property worth at least Rs 350 million, said the NDRC study.

According to JFB chief Magar, an arrival of new fire trucks and necessary equipments have boosted their confidence to communicate with the society. During their study, a group of six firemen and two experts from Northumbria University, UK went to each neighborhood along with a fire truck to demonstrate how they work.

The JFB will be organizing next community based interactive programs once they prepare a manual to work on their own weaknesses, said Kedar Bahadur Adhikari, executive chief, Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC).

Admitting to the authority´s weaknesses to respond at the time of disaster; Adhikari said, “Deep rooted corruption in the local body has led to the sidelining of the fire station and the fire fighters.”

Currently, the KMC allocates Rs 1 million to the JFB which is just enough to cover the basic salaries of the fire fighters and the maintenance of the station and the vehicles are lagging.

 Source: My Republica DailyLink: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=39805
Published on 2012-08-15 08:00:13