Dipecho nepal newsletter issue 9 july 2010

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Dipecho nepal newsletter issue 9 july 2010

  1. 1. DIPECHO Newsletter NEPAL Issue 9, July 2010 Promoting Early Warning: Reducing Risk IN THIS ISSUE Page 2 Community based flood early warning sys- e ditorial Keeping in line with the international framework for disaster risk reduction, Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015, tem in Nepal by Dr. Dilip DIPECHO partners in Nepal are formulating ideas and resources K. Gautam to contribute towards the second priority action of HFA - Risk identification, assessment, monitoring and enhancing early warn- Page 3 - Action aid - ing. DIPECHO partners have incorporated several early warning Early warning: saving components and activities in their project components to help lives communities at risk to be well prepared and act on time to prevent the loss of life and property. Page 4 - CARE - Integrating early warning DIPECHO partners have emphasised all four elements of EWS - communication in flood risk knowledge, monitoring and warning services, dissemination risk reduction and communication, and response capabilities. EWS is considered a crucial mechanism to raise awareness on flood risk among the Page 5 - Danish Red vulnerable communities. EWS warns the people prior to flood Cross - and is a reliable mechanism to increase the response capacity of the Efficient information communities. dissemination for This edition illustrates few initiatives and actions undertaken by better readiness DIPECHO partners under DIPECHO V with special focus on Page 5 - Mission East - Promoting Early Warning: Reducing Risk. Early Warning Page 7 - Handicap To build the capacity of International - Department of Hydrology and Meteorology staff, two of Early Warning System Users For an early warning workshop will be held from system that does not its senior technical members were sent to PAGASA, 6th - 8th August in Nepalgunj discriminate where different stakeholders Philippines for training on Page 8 - Mercy Corps - Flood Early Warning by from community level to Increasing knowledge and Practical Action and Mercy district and national level will warning measures Corps. be participating. Page 9 - Oxfam - Linking Community to Training manual on Commu- Community Practical Action and Mercy nity Based Early Warning Corps together in collabora- System is being prepared Page 11 - Practical Action jointly by Practical Action and tion with Department of - Preparedness with Mercy Corps. The training Hydrology and Meteorology early warning system in manual will be available to the and Ministry of Home Affairs place... DRR practitioners and actors are currently drafting National Strategy for Early warning of by September 2010. Natural Disasters in Nepal. DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 1
  2. 2. Community based flood early warning system in Nepal Dr. Dilip K. Gautam Chief, Flood Forecasting Section, Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, Nepal The Community Based Flood Early Warning stations at System (CBFEWS) is a “people centered” flood Bhairahawa, warning system that empowers individuals and Bagasoti, communities threatened by flood hazards to act Kusum and on time to reduce the possibility of personal Nepalgunj. injury, loss of life, damage to property, and loss of These stations are equipped with VHF wireless livelihood. set and PSTN/mobile phone for data transmis- sion. The forecasting stations at Kusum and Several factors must be considered before estab- Devghat collaborate with the local communities, lishing a CBFEWS, such as hydrologic character- media and district disaster relief committee to istics of the area, frequency of flooding, share flood level data and information of those community’s interest and awareness, flood loss stations. potential, warning time versus benefits and cost of EWS system and community’s capacity to The Flood Forecasting Project of DHM located at respond. Once the Local Government Unit (LGU) Babarmahal, Kathmandu is the central point to and the community establish CBFEWS, technical collect, analyse and disseminate flood related issues have to be settled such as the desired data and information. The water level and accuracy, warning lead time, cost of operations rainfall data from stations with telemetry are and sustainability and reliability of the system. obtained in real time through web based data server www.hydrology.gov.np. In Nepal, the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) is maintaining a network of CBFEWS in West Rapti and Narayani River is 17 hydrological stations and 28 meteorological successful in developing linkages of upstream stations for the purpose of flood forecasting and flood forecasting station with downstream warning. Real time telemetry system has been communities. The efficient information dissemi- installed in 3 hydrological and 10 rainfall stations nation channel has increased the response time in the Narayani basin. Such type of telemetry by several hours and increased the potential of system utilises CDMA modem for data transmis- EWS to reduce the impacts of flood. sion over the internet. The system will be ex- panded in West Rapti, Babai, Bagmati and DHM collaborated with Practical Action and Karnali basins in the coming years. ActionAid to establish CBFEWS in Koshi and Sunsari River. As CBFEWS will be expanded to With the objective of establishing CBFEWS in other rivers in the coming years, the Banke, Bardiya, Nawalparasi, Chitwan and sustainability aspect must be considered by Kailali Districts, DHM has signed a memoran- everyone involved. To sustain and grow the dum of understanding (MOU) with Practical number of CBFEWS in other flood prone areas, Action and Mercy Corps. Within the framework community organisations must approach local of this MOU, DHM is providing water level and and central government agencies to allocate fund. rainfall data which is being used for CBFEWS in these districts. The flood monitoring devices and instruments used in DHM stations include water level and rainfall monitoring devices. Narayani basin has 3 PROMOTING EARLY WARNING: hydrological stations and 10 rainfall stations with telemetry. There are two hydrological sites on REDUCING RISK West Rapti Basin under Flood Forecasting Project of DHM, one at Bagasoti and the other at Kusum. West Rapti Basin has 4 rainfall monitoring DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 22
  3. 3. Early warning: saving lives ActionAid Nepal has been promoting to set up mikes. The knowledge of local people in estab- community based early warning system lishing EWS is explored through interaction and (CBEWS) for flood in its project areas-Sunsari visit, and duly incorporated while establishing and Banke districts. CBEWS is "people-centered" new gauges and other systems. Hence, the system that empowers individuals and communi- information channel between upstream and the ties threatened by flood to act in sufficient time community is established. and in an appropriate manner so as to reduce the possibility of personal injury, loss of life, damage CBEWS provides the disaster management to property, environment and loss of livelihood. committee, task forces, volunteers and other The initiatives are carried out in close collabora- community people with advance information on tion with the community, the flood risks that District Development "Because of our community based EWS, we are can be readily Committee, District translated to disas- Administration Office, safer from the flood. We came to know the ter prevention, Police and Department flood information six hours before from Kusum preparedness and of Hydrology & Metrol- hence we had enough time to evacuate to safe response actions. ogy. Practical Action is shelter. EWS will certainly reduce the possibil- CBEWS also helps the technical partner of ity of loss of lives and properties." - Mr. Kamata reduce economic ActionAid Nepal in Prasad Morya, Coordinator, Early warning task losses by allowing establishing EWS. people to better force, Gangapur 4/5 Banke during Contingency protect their assets Under the project, early Planning Meet in July 7, 2010. and livelihood. warning task force is formed in all the project areas constituting five The project integrated EWS in local level contin- people. There are 19 such task forces. Meetings gency plan which strengthened the capacity of are organised with the community people at the communities. The EWS integration will district level to establish and institutionalise greatly mitigate the flood impact of these com- CBEWS. EWS task forces are trained in CBEWS, munities. The partnership between the local and are familiarised with the process of gauge disaster management committee and the local reading and information flow at the upstream government will certainly help to institutionalise level. The community people are also equipped the process. with early warning apparatus like siren and hand Upstream visit during CBEWS Training, Banke DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 33
  4. 4. Integrating early warning communication in flood risk reduction Kailali District stands 19th in the risk of flood, to minimise the risk of flood. Red Cross subdivi- 48th in landslide, 24th in fire and 1st in epidemics sions Lalbhoji is responsible disseminating flood amongst other districts in Nepal. Thus, in terms information to the villagers to abide the devastat- of disaster vulnerability it is considered ex- ing consequences. Telephone number of various tremely vulnerable. Kailali has 42 VDCs and 2 actors on early information flow and flood municipalities among them Lalbhoji VDC is measurement station was pasted in public places considered exceptionally vulnerable to flooding. for easy access by all the community members. Lalbhoji is bordered by Mohana River to the The community people have now started to South and Kandra River to the North and is also communicate river level readings obtained from the confluence point of these two rivers. the gauge reader to the downstream community members via telephone. Considering the flood vulnerability, SAMADHAN programme was launched in 6 Recently recorded rainfall reading of 19 and 20 communities of Lalbhoji VDC. Early warning July were communicated to the villagers via task forces with 4 - 5 members were formed in telephone and verbally ensuring prior prepared- each community. The EWS task forces attended ness in the community. As mentored during the three days capacity building training on early training the EWS task force in the community warning and visited the flood measurement had circulated the information to the community station. The objective of the training was to members through hand mike. The first level enhance early warning communication contact warning was to alert the villagers of the incoming points and channels for the floods in the area. flood. Second level warning was for the people to Task forces were oriented and trained on efficient act on the first warning and to collect important information dissemination to the community document and dry foods. Third level warning people about the increasing water level. A center was to get people to safe places in the higher point was selected to collate information on grounds with their family members, livestock increasing flood level in the river. Various stake- and important belongings. This kind of warning holders, VDC members and community members provided the people of Labhoji VDC with mini- were familiarised with the rain fall measuring mum 3 – 4 hours of preparedness time saving gauge and other EWS equipments such as hand lives and property. Thus, the proper functioning siren and mike. of EWS task force and timely circulation of flood information has resulted in zero human casual- On the initiation of Red Cross subdivision, a ties and minimal property loss this year in VDC level collaborative meeting was conducted Labhoji VDC. Efficient information dissemination for better readiness Accurate and timely information saves lives and "SAFE – Safer Communities through Multi- community based early warning is an essential Hazard Risk Reduction" project is implemented element of disaster risk reduction initiative; by Nepal Red Cross Society with support from experienced and accepted worldwide. It helps to Danish Red Cross and is funded by the European mitigate loss of life and property and to reduce Commission through its Humanitarian Aid the severe impact of hazards. Strengthening early Department. Communities working with SAFE warning systems (EWS) ensures the efforts made project are vulnerable to multiple hazards such as towards making communities resilient and the landslide, flash flood and fire due to the geo- action plans and existing policies are sustainable. climatic condition and other factors caused by DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 44
  5. 5. nature or human error. Experience accentuates that, after continuous heavy rainfall the sky might be clear but is followed by other hazards, such as flash floods and debris flow. Further, areas recently destroyed by wildfires are particu- larly susceptible to flash floods during rain- storms. Communities living without EWS must at least have an effective information dissemination mechanism so that relevant messages can be disseminated on time. People can be alerted by passing information/warning on the probability of hazards based on the trigger indicators. In landslide prone areas the communities take precautionary measures seeing the triggering factors of landslides such as; Soil moving away from foundations Leaning telephone poles, trees, retaining walls or fences Offset fence lines or retaining walls New cracks or unusual bulge in the ground or street pavement Sticking doors and windows, and visible open spaces indicating jambs and frames out of Map showing hazard prone locations in Bigutar plumb community, Okhaldhunga district. Tilting or cracking of concrete floors and foundations when they receive warning messages. People need to be aware of the risk factors and adopt Hoarding boards are placed in strategic locations mechanisms to reduce the impact of hazards in every community showing hazard risks areas, because early warning alone cannot save lives. location of vulnerable households and available They have realized that effective early warning resources to tap on the onset of disaster. Commu- systems are the most obvious way to get this nities are comparatively better aware of the information to populations at risk. The key to hazard risks and the action they need to take their safety is putting people, not just technology, at the centre of their warning systems! Community leaders meeting at the Disaster Preparedness unit office in Taluwa community in Okhaldhunga after receiving information on the triggering indicators for possible landslides. DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 5 DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 5
  6. 6. Early Warning Early warning in mountainous areas must be addressed differently as the types of hazards and its threats are different. For example address- ing EWS in case of GLOF is very different compared to landslide. In case of GLOF, the scale of destruction is large. For many years lots of institu- tions, NGO and government bodies and in some case, Monitoring Station and Early Warning System were set up to address specific GLOF threat. Such system requires heavy investments and single VDC or Risk of destructive landslide in Humla even a District cannot allocate required resources. can help measure a landslide risk: slope, vegeta- tion and quantity/intensity of rainfall. Devising a In Humla, where Mission East has started a simple toolkit for communities to understand the CBDRM project under DIPECHO funding, GLOF causes of landslide, measure the risk as per the is not an issue but landslide is, and it has a major given indicators (see below box) and to be alert if impact on the livelihood. But landslides can occur the risk becomes high. All these indicators could basically everywhere in mountainous environ- be an affordable solution which may save house- ment, and even if some technical solutions exist holds, human lives and livestock. for monitoring landslide, it is not realistic to equip every single hazardous slope with it. Main triggers of rainfall induced landslides (source ICIMOD) Moreover, the few EWS that exists for landslide, such as a cable tight rope between a stable point There is a direct correlation between the and the potentially unstable slope that would amount of rainfall and the incidence of break if land start to move and trigger an alert, is landslides: only recommended for large scale landslide risk. Cumulative rainfall between 50-100 mm In Humla, a landslide will affect mostly the rare in one day and daily rainfall exceeding 50 agricultural terraces that provide food to its mm can cause small scale and shallow population, few houses that could be on the way, debris landslides - LOW RISK some livestock and connection path between Cumulative two day rainfall of about 150 communities. The cost of a monitoring system is mm, and daily rainfall of about 100 mm not affordable owing the little savings it will has a tendency to increase the number of generate, even if the impact for the affected landslides - MEDIUM RISK population can be huge in terms of crops and Cumulative two day rainfall exceeding livestock loss. 250 mm, or an average intensity of more than 8 mm per hour in one day, rapidly In such context where communities bear little increases the number of large landslides - resources and where minor but numerous HIGH RISK landslides occur, EWS may not be a viable solution for remote and isolated locations. Then The type of slope and the slope angle have a what can we do? great influence on landslides. Landslides rarely occur on slopes less than 25°. The large Mission East DIPECHO team is currently looking majority of landslides occur on slopes with at turning some basic landslide monitoring angles ranging from 30° to 50°. Presence or principles by training land owner and villagers to absence of dense vegetation also determines assess the level of risk. Basically only 3 indicators DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 66
  7. 7. the likelihood of landslide. For an early warning system that does not discriminate will not be heard by somebody who has a total Under this DIPECHO V Action Plan, Handicap hearing impairment or who lives in the periphery International has profited from all opportunities (as most of Dalit groups do). The meaning of the brought by Practical Action and Mercy Corps to noise of a siren may not be understood as a learn, reflect and bring inputs on Early Warning: warning by people with intellectual impairment, during the preparatory work and field testing of hearing impairment, young children or isolated the Training Manual, the presentation and elderly people who have not been involved in commenting stages of the draft National EWS awareness sessions. Strategy and trainings at community level. Two simple ways to enable a people-centered As per mandate and the focus of its DIPECHO V EWS are: First, participation and involvement of project, HI inputs for inclusive EWS have been all segments of the population, including persons given to EWS designers and implementers to with disabilities and other vulnerable or disad- reach all the people at risk. The Hyogo Frame- vantaged groups (such as women, elderly people, work for Action invites us to design people Dalit groups, etc.), from the stage of the design to centered early warning systems, including all the implementation. They are capable of advising members of the community, especially those who DRR actors as to how they can and should be are most vulnerable and most at risk of not reached. acknowledging the warning. The risk occurs when only a single means of warning is used and Secondly, community-based communication when people do not participate in DRR activities networks can bring solutions to the challenge of and trainings because of gender, age, social reaching ALL. For example, the design of a considerations, or physical, intellectual or senso- “notification tree” for individual notification, rial impairment. based on the community map. It is not more difficult to design and implement A siren that is in place in the centre of the village an inclusive EWS, but it is more efficient and more lives are saved. School level awareness programme on inclusiveness DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 77
  8. 8. Increasing knowledge and warning measures Mercy Corps in collaboration with Nepal Red Cross Society are implementing the second Kailali Disaster Risk Reduction Initiatives as part of DIPECHO Fifth Action Plan. One of the main components of this project is expansion and institutionalisation of community based and district EWS introduced as part of the previous DIPECHO supported projects. Kailali District is characterised by many short rivers originating from the Siwalik Range (please refer to Map). During monsoon the area experi- ences heavy localised rain storms. The principal threat in this area is from flash floods, which follow intense or prolonged rainfall. These events are by definition very fast developing, with no more than 12 hours and sometimes as little as 1.5 hours between the occurrence of precipitation and the flood. It was therefore decided with Department of Hydrology and Metrology to pilot a low tech flash flood forecasting model suitable for short river systems in Kailali District and for Map of the River Systems in Kailali district replication elsewhere. The model uses historical knowledge to define a set of warning levels upstream which indicate a coming flood event downstream. The overall idea is to add warning Wooden pole used for identification of warning time for the communities living along the rivers. CBEWS is now introduced in 16 communities along the Mohana River and its tributaries and is replicated in a number of neighboring communi- ties. Using a community to community approach, early warning committees established under the previous project have supported establishment of CBEWS in project communities. Upstream observers trained with project support take readings of water level and rainfall at gauge sites along the rivers and relay them to downstream communities through agreed communication channels. Early warning is build into community contingency plans and early warning committees in each community are responsible for the day to day management of the systems including organisation of simulation and equipment such as hand operated sirens and megaphones. Early warning is of high priority for district and VDC stakeholders in Kailali. The Early Warning Management Committee has therefore developed overall EWS guidelines for Kailali. The guidelines include day to day management, financial management, emergency telephone numbers, DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 88
  9. 9. roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders and sustainability. A decision to pool funds for the EWS proves the commitment of the DDC and 32 flood prone VDCs in the district. Mercy Corps further seeks to put EWS high on the national and district agenda through various initiatives in collabora- tion with Practical Action and DHM. EWS Committee testing siren Linking Community to Community When a community knows ahead of time that a disaster is about to strike, it will respond more effectively and will save lives and livelihoods. Under its Risk Reducing programme funded by DIPECHO, Oxfam GB and its local partners (Center for Disaster Management in Nawalparasi, Bagmati Sewa Samaj Nepal in Sarlahi and Koshi Victim Society in Saptari) have established 12 CBEWs in 28 vulnerable communi- ties of 3 tarai districts in Nepal. These 12 EWS link communities living on the banks of the Jarahi and Lakhandehi rivers. The upstream communities observe the water level in the rivers using flood markers to deter- mine the level of risk. The risk is ranked into 3 categories: high, medium and low. These catego- ries are initially determined through discussions between the communities during exchange visits and is based on past flood experiences. During Early Warning Task Force sounding siren during the the dry season, the water level is below the low mock drill in Rampur, Maleniya VDC, Saptari District DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 99
  10. 10. With the Establishment of this EWS, we are better prepared and our losses will be minimised"- Rajendra Flood marker placed at Rampura VDC, Mishra, Chairperson of DMC, Khadauna VDC, Nawalparasi district Nawalparasi District risk level and every subsequent increase is communicated by phone to the downstream communities. This information is disseminated within the communities by Early Warning Task force communities equipped with sirens, mega- phones and loudspeakers. A system of colour coded flags is used to notify the hearing im- paired. Oxfam GB and its local partners facilitated community discussions to establish the EWS. As a component of the Community Response Plans the EWS are designed and monitored by the DMC of the downstream communities. Prior to the monsoon season, these plans, including the EWS were tested and practiced through mock drills in all 12 communities. The performance of the EWS will be evaluated after the monsoon season to increase its effectiveness. DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 10 10
  11. 11. Preparedness with early warning system in place... With the aspiration of doing something for the community Fulbasiya Tharu, 38 yrs old women of Padnaha VDC-ward no. 8- Barbatta is being occupied in social work by getting involved as a women volunteer. She is also a member of “Babai Pragatisheel Prokop Byawasthapan Sameete”, a disaster management committee. Barbatta community is situated near Babai River. Hence, the danger of flood every monsoon is a looming fear in this community. “In 1995, heavy rain poured for two days con- tinuously. Around 3 am my house was flooded. That night, my husband Taratal had been out for work and could not return because of heavy rainfall. My children were small so I was baffled. I had to save my children, store food and other assets and ultimately save myself. Since I could not save food we had a big problem. Although I saved my children during flood I was not sure if I could save them after the flood for long time” recalls Fulbasiya with tears. When asked what she knew about preparedness Fulbasiya with siren for flood she said, “Deep down I always thought that we should have been prepared but the prediction we made by observing the river and clouds often went in despair and we always suffered. She further adds, “When I heard about “We will have at least 5 - 6 hours for preparation. SEWIN project which came with the aim of Everyone will have ample time to collect food, raising awareness on preparedness through flood important documents and help each other to get early warning system, I felt like this program was to the shelter. We have contributed our time and meant for our community. I felt like I should be a labor for construction of shelter, machan, cul- part of it to help the entire community be pre- verts, and toilets,” explains Fulbasiya. pared so that they will not have to lose their loved ones and their belongings.” Like Fulbasiya there are other women volunteers who visit people in their houses and explain to Fulbasiya is responsible for ringing the hand them the benefits of EWS and the danger associ- siren to warn the community after receiving ated with flood. These volunteers also inform information on the water level from the up- community people on EWS activities that raise stream. She has participated in several trainings awareness on floods through street drama, song and has also visited Chepang the upstream flood competition, trainings and rallies. monitoring station to see the devices that mea- sure the water level. She has access to telephone “I am very happy to be a part of this programme. numbers of the gauge reader, local police station Even though this program ends the knowledge and other stakeholders whom she can call if she that we have will always remain with us. Know- feels that there is a danger of flooding. When ing that there is early warning system in place I they confirm that water level is high in the feel safe and I no longer have to worry about upstream, she will ring the siren to warn the flood” she adds with full confidence. community of the impeding flood. DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 11 11
  12. 12. Communities and district stakeholders learning about upstream river station. Practical Action SEWIN Early Warning for all from all This thematic newsletter has been produced by DIPECHO projects in Nepal with support from the European Commission through its Humanitarian Aid department. The contents and information has been provided by the DIPECHO partners - Action Aid, CARE, Danish Red cross, Handicap Interna- tional, Mercy Corps, Mission East Nepal, Oxfam GB, and Practical Action. This issue is edited and circulated by Practical Action on behalf of DIPECHO partners in Nepal. To know more about DIPECHO projects, please contact Luc Verna for DG ECHO/DIPECHO at hoo@echo-kathmandu.org and respective project Managers at Krishnan.pv@actionaid.org (Action Aid), rajesh@carenepal.org (CARE), drcdp@mos.com.np (Danish Red Cross), dppm@hi nepal.org (Handicap International), udons@np.mercycorps.org (mercy Corps), cristophe.belperron@miseast.org (Mission East Nepal), svanleuffel@oxfam.org.uk (Oxfam GB) and deb.bej@practicalaction.org.np (Practical Action). DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 DIPECHO Newsletter Issue 9, July 2010 12 12

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