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Collective initiative started for urban disaster risk reduction

Krishan Adhikari, LALITPUR: Bikram Khadka ran away frantically from the house and school as the Gorkha earthquake and its numerous aftershocks rocked the ground on 25 April 2015. He says he will no more run away hysterically like that in case earthquake occured in future because now he knows what to do and stay safe in such situation.
Eighth-grader at Mahendra Saraswoti School at Kathmandu Metropolitan City-12, Khadka is now self-confident and learnt safety measures after participating in different drills and disaster management training along with school teachers. He said, “We should keep cool and do our works calmly during times of natural disasters. Many problems will surface if we become nervous and lose our cool.”
Prakash Rai, who also participated in training with Bikram, said that ways of protecting life and property during disaster should be taught from the school level itself. Unimaginable situation might surface in lack of paying attention about problems likely to surface after disaster. So, preparedness is important.
Although it cannot be said wen a natural disaster will strike, it is necessary to take precautionary measures and appropriate management steps to cope with the likely situation in te aftermath of the disaster. We need to develop basic skills, stressed Rajendra Basnet, a teacher at Shramik Shakti School, located at Lalitpur Metropolitan City-9.
Surakshit Sahar (Safer Cities): Urban Disaster Risk Reduction Project has chosen some schools of Kathmandu and Lalitpur districts as its working area thinking that launching awareness programmes regarding disaster management at the facilitation of teachers would be more effective. The impacts of skill and awareness level provided through children remain long-lasting at community-level. The goal of the project is ‘Urban resilience through DRR strengthened.’
National Disaster Risk-reduction Centre (NDRC) has been implementing the project with support of ADRA Nepal, DCA, LWR and World Vision. The project has been launched at KMC-10 and 12 as well as Lalitpur Metropolitan City-2 and 9 from July 2017-June 2019 as a model project. An Urban Disaster Risk-reduction Network has been formed jointly by five organizations. An agreement has recently been signed between the Network and Federal Affairs and Local Development Ministry to build materials related to urban disaster risk reduction.
A contingency plan and safe roadmap related to disaster risk reduction prepared with the participation of teachers and students of private and public schools of four wards would be expanded to other wards of Kathmandu Valley as these wards are also at risk of disaster.
The project has provided relief and rescue materials required for training and disaster management to health posts at these wards. Dr Dhruba Gautam of NDRC Nepal said that they promoted knowledge and understanding of risk profiling and analysis at the ward level by imparting training to newly elected members of House of Representatives, social mobilizers, health workers and mothers groups.
Terms of reference and a product framework for an urban DRR toolkit were formulated following consultations with officials from the ministries of Federal Affairs and Local Development, Home Affairs and Urban Development. A multi-disciplinary team of five consultants is working on preparing this toolkit.
Gautam expressed belief that the communities have learnt to remain safe during any disaster in future as disaster risk reduction and capacity development needs have been identified in local-level.
Around 86,000 people of 22,000 households of four wards would get information about disaster risk reduction measures through the project. A total of 36 people of these wards had lost their lives in Gorkha earthquake. This programme has developed awareness and knowledge of service providers and stakeholders regarding disaster risk mitigation through the project as well as mainstreamed and incorporated disaster risk assessment and preparedness in town-level plan.
Chairman of KMC-10, Ram Kumar KC said that arrangements are being made for keeping ambulance in every ward and protecting open spaces.
“The project has developed our capacity by providing necessary materials,” Chairperson of KMC-12, Bikas Dangol, said. Amir Maharjan, a ward member of Lalitpur Metropolitan City-9, said that effective DRR programme has been implemented at schools of the ward by reconstituting community disaster management committee of the ward.
Maharjan said, “We will not give permission to establish industry until fire dousing arrangement is made there.”
He further said they have made arrangement of budget for the construction of a tank that can store 100,000 litres of water at every chowk of the ward.
Mostly women, children, disabled and the elderly persons suffer the most from disaster. A social mobilizer of Lalitpur Metropolitan City-2, Sanu Maharjan, said that training related to disaster risk reduction has been imparted to some six women groups of the ward that has developed public awareness gradually.
KMC Disaster Management Chief Indra Man Singh Suwal said they have set a target to run activities by reconstituting ward disaster management and citizen committee in all the 32 wards within this year.
He said, “We will bring the Metropolitan Emergency Operation Centre into use completely from next year. The centre was established to keep all the records related to natural disaster.”
It is necessary to expand the concept of safer cities in all municipalities to build a prosperous and safe society by mitigating the impacts of disaster risk at a time when central, provincial and local governments are going to be built as the country has adopted federal system. RSS

Published Date: Wednesday, February 14th, 2018 | 12:38 AM

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