Dipecho4 newsletter2nd june08


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Dipecho4 newsletter2nd june08

  1. 1. DIPECHO Brief N E P A L NUMBER 2 JUNE 2008 NEPAL DIPECHO BRIEF – The “Nepal DIPECHO background on the seven DIPECHO projects active Brief” is a periodic newsletter of the seven in Nepal. This second edition hopes to show some organizations currently carrying out DIPECHO of the initiatives currently being carried out in the funded projects in Nepal. It aims to give regular area of early warning, particularly where partners updates on project’s progress, with periodic themed are collectively contributing to greater awareness, editions. While the work of the projects is understanding and promotion of this key issue. supported by the European Commission, through Future additions of this brief will focus on other its Humanitarian Aid department, the views issues and themes central to the promotion of expressed in the brief are those of the partner community based approaches to disaster risk organizations alone. reduction in Nepal, but as these briefs can only cover our work in the broadest brush strokes please “Early Warnings: Saving Lives” The first feel free to contact partners directly for more edition of “Nepal DIPECHO Brief” gave some basic information. Please read on…………….. COMPLEMENTING COMMUNITY INITIATIVES THROUGH CREATING EWS LINKAGES ActionAid is working with 14 communities in five districts, helping people to reduce their vulnerabilities to flood, earthquake, landslide, fire and other forms of natural calamity. Within the project small scale early warning systems have been designed to inform people in advance where ever possible, with such advance warning, along with the life skill training and improved organizational capacity, expected to reduce disaster impacts among vulnerable communities. In each of the communities, a public address system is being provided, connected to radio. DMCs (Disaster Management Committees) in each community will listen to the news and weather forecasts through local radio stations, getting regular information Rai tole, Hetauda: The flag in the background is to on impending concerns and calamities. These radio broadcasts, show direction of wind… small steps to control fire… through the public address system, will be linked to listener’s clubs - dedicated teams from within the communities - who are responsible ActionAid also has for both gathering and disseminating information. The portable provision to support Disaster public address systems will allow the DMC members to immediately Information Centres at district move around their respective areas, announcing news on the level, in collaboration with the environmental conditions and enabling communities to take advance district administration offices, measures, depending upon the likely severity of the impending with these centres expected to disaster. In fire prone areas, small measures such as erecting wind- receive, analyse and disseminate flags are expected to help communities to better identify the direction advance information on disaster of the wind and hence take the necessary measures needed to prevent situations, particularly during and stop the spread of fire. the periodic ‘disaster seasons’ such as the monsoon. EUROPEAN COMMISSION HUMANITARIAN AID
  2. 2. SAMADHAN-II either sitting in a community gathering place or sometimes While putting effort into enhancing the capacities of walking throughout the vulnerable communities, through implementing community. This practice has Community Based Disaster Risk Management existed in the communities for approaches (CBDRM) Care’s SAMADHAN-II project is generations, with people attuned also emphasizing the importance of early warning. to the sound of Narasingha and The communities CARE Nepal works with in Doti and Kailali its importance. are particularly poor and marginalized and as such capacity building, The Narasingha man is paid be it through training, awareness raising, carrying out mitigation in either food or money and the measures or enabling communities to establish early warning system communities plan to link this to (EWS) has been prioritised. a Community Emergency Fund, In the far west while Kailali suffers most from floods and a monthly saving activity to meet inundation, Doti faces landslide and flash floods. In both project any costs incurred due to disaster districts Disaster Risk Reduction Committees (DRRC) have been or to meet the unmet needs of formed, trained in CBDRM with defined roles and responsibilities. A the communities during a post total of 328 DRRC members have already been trained and equipped disaster situations. with basic knowledge on preparedness, with importance being given The Narasingha man is to the issue of EWS. Under a Schools Education Programme 57 now a members of the DRRC, teachers have also been trained, with these now taking class room playing his age old role, but now sessions on preparedness covering 4,740 students in 19 schools. conveying added information on CSSD (Conscious Society for Social Development) & EDC disaster preparedness and Early (Equality Development Centre), CARE’s implementing partners in Warning Systems. Kailali & Doti have been instrumental in broadcasting Radio programmes on CBDRM, with the programmes covering important preparedness and awareness messages, seasonal disaster news, and views of community members on disaster preparedness. While trying to improvise and systematise the coping mechanisms of communities the thrust of the programme has been to promote and use indigenous mechanism for EWS where ever possible. The Use of Narasingha (a local musical instrument) is a popular way to disseminate messages across communities, with the practice being that whenever there is an urgent message to be disseminated the designated person plays the Narasingha repeatedly, Narasingha man playing the indigenous instrument, Narasingha) UNDP/DRRNLN – involved in Early Warning disasters through all available II: HOW A FEW Systems as such, but rather tries media, be this radio, television or SECONDS CAN to highlight their importance, other sources and, accordingly, SAVE YOUR LIFE thus reducing risk through take adequate and appropriate BEFORE A increasing general awareness. measures such as moving to DISASTER! Accordingly, in all its mass media higher ground and/or other awareness generation places of safety. The fact that an campaigns, the project has made What it boils down to in effective Early Warning System, it a point, especially with regard the end is that what ever kind of especially in areas that are prone to floods, to draw attention to disaster is faced, if an Early to natural hazards, can save the fact that people need to get Warning System is to save lives, precious lives is irrefutable. With early warning and improved it should be efficient and fully an efficient EWS in place, and information about forthcoming known to vulnerable vulnerable communities communities adequately sensitized about its through adequate operation and the measures they sensitization and need to take before, say, an capacity building imminent flood, a huge in the areas of difference can be made. The timely response difference between saving or and evacuation. losing a life. Those few Having said this, UNDP/ precious seconds Disaster Risk Reduction at the before a disaster National Level in Nepal can make all the (DRRNLN) – II is not directly difference !
  3. 3. NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT partners and wider stakeholders, US…… and other more general recommendations on Early warnings allow communities to inclusiveness for use in project identify and recognize the first signs of a risk event, identify actions implementation and community that can mitigate the negative impacts of an event, avoid unpleasant mobilization activities. The surprises and reactive decision-making, help to plan appropriate guiding principals behind these programme strategies for different scenarios, and assist people in are that; making the right decisions in reacting to an emergency situation. People with disabilities should Early warning systems are an important part of DRR, ensuring be encouraged to community safety and preparedness. But who are the most vulnerable participate.People with groups at the community level ? Sure, the answer will be pregnant disabilities should be consulted women, children, senior elders and people with disabilities, but it is while preparing evacuation/ often seen that PwDs (People with Disabilities) are missed from the early warning systems, to make list. They are less visible, often have additional, complicated, sure that their specific needs individual needs and when considered are often regarded as merely are addressed. passive beneficiaries or recipients. But EWS need to be inclusive if we People with disabilities are want to achieve comprehensive coverage and awareness and be better Involved in early warning task prepared for emergencies. It is critical that PwDs themselves are asked forces. their opinions and needs, and about the best ways for them to hear, see and understand early warnings. Early warning systems and The Handicap International, Nepal DIPECHO Project is plans must be developed which developing recommendations on inclusive EWS for DIPECHO meet the diverse needs of different categories of people with disabilities within the community. Hall marks of an inclusive Early Warning System ? An auditory signal system/ alarms; Posters written with large characters and color contrasts; visual signal systems to back up auditory ones – i.e. use of bright flags, large symbols, turning warning lights off-on frequently, big pictures, clear and brief announcements by identified workers and volunteers. EARLY WARNING - AN INTEGRATED APPROACH Corps’ approach is to build an Mercy Corps’s operational sites lie along the Mohana River where effective, integrated system that floods represent one of the greatest hazards to the population. The includes a) knowledge of risks Mohana River and its 3 tributaries have a total catchments area of faced, b) technical monitoring approximately 1400 km2, and regularly flood the adjacent areas and and warning, c) building an erode river banks. These cause immense losses every two or three information dissemination years, significantly affecting the livelihoods of households in the area system, and d) increasing public and occasionally forcing entire villages to relocate to safer areas. Prior awareness. to the project intervention no systematized flood warning existed and people relied on their ‘instincts”, visible storms up stream, and Knowledge of risk: Disaster smells and sounds related to their experiences of floods in earlier Preparedness Committees (DPC), years. community stakeholders, Early warning systems (EWS) are one of the key tools the project teachers, partner staff, and VDC is using to reduce the vulnerability of communities, equipping level stake holders have already individuals and communities so that they can act in sufficient time attended disaster risk and in an appropriate manner to avoid flood related risks. Mercy management trainings.
  4. 4. Technical monitoring and warning service/Method: The project is being implemented a) To determine critical rainfall indicators, historic data from the in close coordination and with Department of Hydrology and Metrology (DH&M) is being contribution from district and correlated with past years’ flood records; local level stakeholders and in b) Calculation of Lag time (Time to reach a certain point) of flood is coordination with DH&M to being analysed to assure timely evacuation ensure effectiveness and c) Real time monitoring of water levels will be used, using local sustainability. The project also recording stations (rainfall and staff gauge) upgraded by the aims to link the systems project. Upstream recorders will measure rainfall and water levels established with the DH&M every 3 hours. When the river surpasses its critical flood level the forecasting division, mainly so recorders will notify the local emergency committee. information can be shared on issues such as the arrival date of Dissemination of warning: Flood warnings will be transmitted in the the monsoon, duration of rain, local language via local radio stations, telephone and/or security flood estimates, etc. Most of the networks. Focal people in the communities will then sound sirens existing hydrological (4) and and drums to further alert people, with the estimated total reach of metrological (6) stations in the the early warning system being up to 130,000 inhabitants. project area will be incorporated into the EWS, with some (4) new Public awareness and preparedness: ongoing awareness campaigns in locations needing to be schools, households and via radio programmes, combined with established for the monitoring of community disaster management plans and EWS test simulations water levels. Ultimately Mercy will make people aware of the EWS and the proper responses advised Corps hopes to expand the when the system is sounded. system, through a local network, to cover the entire watershed. READING THE SIGNS, ENSURING THE CRITICAL “LAST MILE” ... whereby villagers take turns in How early does early warning come about ? watching the flow and depth of Can it be calculated by the tick of the clock, the river during the monsoon the passing of days, or the waxing of the and warn other by using a brass moon ? trumpet). Through the VCA process In disaster risk reduction, early warning and community disaster comes not as a prophecy but as something preparedness planning, succinct based on the patterns of the weather, knowledge of the events communities examine the of the past, and qualified by scientific data; all supported by relay patterns of hazard events and mechanisms on the ground. identify hazard areas. This Early warning requires not only the ‘gadgets’ but also the enables them to create a blue organic system that is needed to ensure that messages get through print of events and scenarios to and are understood. They also require the disaster preparedness plans prepare for, and ways of that enable orderly evacuation to safety. responding to hazard events. Through the Community Based Multi-Hazard Risk Reduction Structural mitigation projects (CBMHRR) Programme, the Danish Red Cross (DRC) provides form part of this, while technical support to the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) to capture Information, Education, and enhance best practices at the community level. The experience Communication (IEC) materials of DRC interventions in the eastern coast of Sri Lanka, where CDRTs and public awareness (Community Disaster Response Teams) form the human link between programmes in the communities high-tech gadgetry and community level early warning mechanisms, provide basic knowledge of the affirms the need for a localized and practical approach in early characteristics of the hazards warning. prevalent in their areas. Although the CBMHRR Programme in Nepal does not have a All these programme direct focus on achieving early warning set-up, the Programme activities contribute towards nevertheless ensures that mechanisms are in place in target enhancing indigenous communities. These include the organizing of DP (Disaster knowledge and ensuring early Preparedness) units to function as the critical “last mile” link in the warning messages are relayed early warning relay. This role requires constant monitoring of news, and understood – reading the through transistor radios, and utilising existing indigenous warning signs and ensuring the critical systems - the Katuwal (Kutuwal is a local system of early warning ‘last mile’.
  5. 5. CLOSING THE CIRCLE: MAKING THE LINKS lack of equipment) or structural issues (such as bureaucratic While a lot of interest has been shown impasses) impede progress. By in the technologies Practical Action involving the media in all of intends to use in their EWS the organisation has been keen to these activities, full transparency emphasise that these are secondary considerations which will actually has been achieved, with the have a minor influence on whether systems succeed or fail. added benefit that major In fact Practical Action has discovered that in Banke and Bardia contributors to the project can many of the components of the system exist already, the various not renege on commitments ! elements merely needing to be joined up for the links to be Having now over come established. In upstream locations DH&M (Department of Hydrology most of the bureaucratic and & Meteorology) stations already exist, logging river levels and technical barriers the same reporting by HF radio to regional and national DH&M stations; at approach is being used to link all district level emergency services are committed to supporting EWS the key individuals in the system, activities, with the resources necessary to mobilise large scale bringing together community evacuations when required; at the community level individuals are representatives, DH&M gauge crying out for information, with the ability and willingness to reading staff, emergency services organise collectively for swift and coordinated response. staff and “emergency room” With this in mind Practical Action has been concentrating on personnel at both district, gauge bringing the various stakeholders together, in as many forums as station and community level. By possible. To this end coordinated upstream visits have been made, in making these contacts personal both districts, by teams representing the police, army, Red Cross, it is hoped it will build a greater district authorities, DH&M and, critically, the media. These have taken degree of human responsibility place so collective understanding can be created on what resources into the system, which Practical already exist, where gaps exist, who is in the best place to plug these Action sees as critical. and where bottlenecks, either in terms of physical impediments (i.e. Kadga Bahadur Rawat Chhetri, gauge reader at Bagasoti, interacting with local media staff This information bulletin has been produced by DIPECHO project in Nepal with support from European Commission under its Humanitarian Aid department The contents and information has been provided by Peter Crawford (Practical Action department. Practical Action); Ulla Dons (Mercy Corps Rene Jinon (Danish Red Cross Sanjukta Sahany (CARE Nepal Irina Ulmasova (Handicap Mer Corps); Mercy Danish Cross); CARE Nepal); Handicap International and P. V. Krishnan (ActionAid To know more about individual projects, contact respective project managers International) ActionAid). ActionAid at peterc@practicalaction.org; ulla@mos.com.np (Mercy Corps); drcdm@mos.com.np (Red Cross);dppm@hi-nepal.org (Handicap International); sanjukta@carenepal.org, om.mulmi@undp.org and Krishnan.pv@actionaid.org