adaptation knowledge. However, when they survive the hardships they rehabilitate their houses,
terraces and natural resour...
On the other hand, the landslide add enormous load to the streams and rivers causing flood and
debris flow downstream. Eac...
heavy losses of agricultural crops though human loss is seldom. Windstorm and thunderbolt causes
loss of human life as wel...
unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, or old age or other lack of
                        livelihood in circumsta...

After the evidence of Asian Tsunami and mandate from WCDR II Disaster Management has
The role of Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) is to establish river-gauging
stations to monitor the situation ...
agencies, and I/NGOs, the disaster-affected communities, and to assist to UN Disaster
Management Secretariat Communities.
mechanism in Nepal is divided into four key factors such as disaster preparedness; emergency
response; rehabilitation and ...
The CNDRC organizes meetings as and when necessary under the chairpersonship MoHA. It can
invite concerned Member of Parli...
of access to forest areas means that the Act is fundamental to development. Since, poverty is the
cause of deforestation a...
National Water Plan, 2005
In order to implement the 25-year National Water Resources Strategy, 2002, the Government has
Recognizing the significance of promoting emergency management and disaster risk reduction
efforts at the international, n...
•   Integrating risk reduction concerns; safeguarding lives, livelihoods and assets of communities
    by promoting disast...
For now, only annual disaster preparedness plans are in place and implemented accordingly. For a
long time, it was thought...
DRR through school
Nepal Red Cross Society, Save the Children Alliance and ActionAid Nepal are among the
pioneers to initi...
•   NDRA is silent in describing the duties and responsibilities of all disaster management
    agencies other than the Mo...
•   Disaster victims do not always receive immediate and effective relief services. Delayed relief-
    works and duplicat...
•   The available information and knowledge are sufficient to formulate simple policy and plan of
    action. The need of ...
NGOs. There also should be the provision of proper monitoring and evaluation of ongoing
•   NGOs can be mo...

1. A Brief Report on Regional Disaster Management Workshop May 2000
2. A review of the security situations of ...
34. Simple Practical Guidelines on Natural Disaster Management (2000), Nepal Red Cross
    Society, Kathmandu, Nepal.
35. ...
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Nepal update on disaster2k8 dfa aanworked

  1. 1. DRAFT MAPPING DISASTERS AND THEIR RESPONSE IN NEPAL Shyam.Jnavaly@actionaid.org Basanta.Pokharel@actionaid.org A. INTRODUCTION Disaster remains as one of the leading causes of substantial loss of lives and livelihoods. Despite invention of new technology and measures taken by the states and international arrangements, many lives are lost by disaster hazards globally than ever before. The damages associated with natural disasters are mostly manifestations of social inequalities and injustices. Violation of human rights during disasters is becoming a matter of serious concern globally, yet they remain largely unaddressed. The seriousness of impacts of disasters is reflected in a recent study which ranks Nepal, in terms of relative vulnerability to earthquakes, as the eleventh most at risk country in the world, and thirtieth to floods. Another report classifies Nepal as one of the global ‘hot-spots’ for natural disasters. The DesInventar database in Nepal prepared for 1971-2003, shows the trend of one disaster event with two resultant deaths occurring every day over this period. Every year, thousands of families are rendered homeless by natural disasters and their inefficient management. When any hazard strikes, it is the communities who react first, irrespective of status, class, caste, ethnicity, or culture. However, a clear pattern in terms of whom they impact most is undeniable. Their brutality seems to befall upon certain social groups who are categorized as poor and excluded people. An effective disaster response is important to minimize the effects on members of society, especially those who traditionally bear the maximum brunt. It, above all, involves strengthening the capacity (primarily) of the vulnerable groups and victims from former disasters so that they can observe, understand, analyze and prepare themselves for the worst impact. It is also essential to allow transparency of actions of the donor agencies working towards disaster risk reduction and to encourage communities to get involved, so that when disasters strike, communities do not have to wait for primary help from outside. This paper seeks to map disasters in Nepal, prevalent response strategies, and a way forward based on previous experiences. B. DISASTER OVERVIEW IN NEPAL Nepal is a disaster prone zone with incidence of widespread disasters across the country around the year. Nepal’s topography, climate, and lack of proper infrastructure planning make her extremely vulnerable to various forms of disaster. Severity of disasters is evident by the exponential rise in frequency of natural and anthropogenic catastrophes, their impacts on national economy, and subsequent loss of lives and individual wealth. Major disasters in Nepal are flood, landslide, fire, earthquake, drought, epidemic and insurgency with increased sporadic problems of storm, hailstorm, avalanches and stampede. People living in a country like Nepal also cope with uncertain climatic changes, which are further leading to slow and rapid onset of disasters every year. Villagers’ livelihood systems somehow are built acknowledging the common threats, but their local knowledge of adaptation cannot cope with the rigorous climate changes happening all over the world. It is now beyond the conventional local
  2. 2. adaptation knowledge. However, when they survive the hardships they rehabilitate their houses, terraces and natural resource base - a task that may continue for several years after the disaster. And those who cannot cope are forced to abandon their ancestral homes, migrate to either more hazardous areas or to the towns and cities with new forms of livelihoods constraints. The heavy rain and storm during the monsoon and long drought in the dry season are the major risks of rural people in the Terai. Its consequences are fear, danger, and accidents, injuries, and lose of property. It also reduces the psychological strength of the people. The risks are also increasing due to the poor institutional set-up and poor capacity of the community. Poor and unemployed people living near the disaster-prone areas are the most vulnerable to disasters; who despite knowing the danger cannot afford to move out. Among them, pregnant women, disable people, aged, children, and those already displaced by landslides and floods top the ranks. They generally reside by the riverside, in public land, and in the laps of hills because they at one point were displaced from their land. As per the Ministry of Home Affairs, 19,675 persons lost their lives due to various types of disasters from 1983 to 1999. In spite of long and sustained advocacy efforts, different development programs and disaster preparedness projects showed very reactive approach towards managing disasters in Nepal. They try to respond to visible effects of disasters without acknowledging the underlying causes that create ideal conditions for the disaster to strike. The underlying causes are not simply the root causes, since there is no single starting point (root) for disaster in Nepal. Additionally, in view of the complexities and diversities of disaster management in Nepal, a concrete, effective and applicable policy is needed for which political commitment and a pragmatic policy formulation is a must. C. RECURRENT DISASTERS IN NEPAL Earthquake The high mountains and the Himalayan range of Nepal are young mountain chain. They stretch almost 2,500 KM in the east - west direction fall under the seismically active zone which is considered as the result of subduction of the Indian plate under the Tibetan plate. Due to the Indian plate moving towards the north, Nepal, located between India and Tibet is a seismic area and has a long record of destructive earthquakes. Highly destructive earthquakes had already rocked Nepal. According to a record, in the last 700 years, nine major earthquakes had already occurred in the Himalayas, for example, Kangra-India 1905, Bihar-Nepal 1934, Assam-India 1950, Nepal 1988 etc. Vulnerability in urban and rural areas from earthquake will not be the same because of variations in concentration of population, quantity and quality of houses/ physical constructions and availability of response options. Kathmandu valley and urban areas are more vulnerable due to the population density and unsafe houses. Flood, landslide and debris flow There are more than 6,000 rivers and streams in Nepal. Most of them flow from north to south, generally with high velocity due to high river gradient. Most of the big rivers are snow-fed which originate from the Himalayan range. The landslide and flood are the most destructive types of disasters in Nepal. Three quarter of the total land area is hilly and many villages are situated on or adjacent to the unstable hill slopes. As a result, landslide and flood with debris flow occurs. Unplanned settlements and physical constructions without due consideration to the natural hazards are considerably aggravating the mountain environment.
  3. 3. On the other hand, the landslide add enormous load to the streams and rivers causing flood and debris flow downstream. Each year such types of disasters cause the losses of a number of human life and immense damages to agricultural land, crops, human settlements and other physical properties. For instance, in July 1993 Nepal experienced a devastating flood in the Terai region of Nepal which killed 1,336 and affected 487,534 people. In 1998, flood and landslide were severe in various parts of the country, mainly the Terai and the middle hill. This disaster claimed 273 human lives, injured 80 people and killed 982 cattles. Besides, 33,549 families were affected, 13,990 houses and 1244 cattle sheds were destroyed and 45 thousand ha of land and agricultural crops were ruined. The caused the total loss of about NRs 2 billion. In 1999, flood and landslide also killed 193 people while the corpses of 47 people could not be found and 91 people were seriously injured. In this disaster 8,844 families were affected, 3,507 houses and cattle sheds were destroyed and 177.32 ha of land and agricultural crops were cleaned out. The disaster caused a total loss of about NRs 360.11 million. Fire Fire disaster occurs mainly in the dry season from April to June. During this season the temperature in the Terai region rises above 35° Celsius and it hardly ever rains. Fire disaster takes place mostly in the rural areas of Terai and the middle hill region. As 90.8 percent of the total population live in the rural areas in a very poor housing condition fire hazards are common. The houses of the rural areas especially of the Terai areas are usually very close to each other and are made up of straw or reeds and timber which are easily caught by fire. In 1999 fire disaster claimed the life of 39 people injuring 10. The number of affected families reached up to 1,065 destroying 1,035 houses and 52 cattle sheds. The number of livestock loss was 148. The total loss has been estimated to be about NRs 45.23 millions. Epidemic In most cases the epidemic of cholera, gastroenteritis, encephalitis, meningitis, typhoid, jaundice, malaria, just to mention a few, occur during summer and rainy seasons. This type of disaster occurs mainly due to the lack of proper health care and sanitation. In 1999, over 1,200 people died of epidemics and 6,119 families were affected in various parts of the country. Avalanche As the northern part of the country is covered with snow peaks, avalanche is very common and sometimes it claims the life of human being as well. The avalanche of November, 1995 killed 43 people including some foreign trekkers at Khumbu and Kanchanjungha areas. In 2 January 1999, 5 people were swept away by the avalanche that occurred in Chunchet Village Development Committee Ward No. 8 of Gorkha district. Glacier Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) In the Himalayan region of Nepal glacier lakes are common. A total of 159 glacial lakes have been found in Koshi basin and 229 in Tibetan Arun basin. Among them 24 are potentially dangerous. The areas like: Upper Barun, Lower Barun, Chamlangtsho, Tsho Rolpa, Sabou, Dudh Kunda, Majang, Inja, Thulari have potentially dangerous glacier lakes. These lakes contain huge volume of water and remain in unstable condition, as a result, they can burst any time and a natural catastrophe may cause loss of life and physical property. About 14 such glacier-induced floods have already been experienced from 1935 to 1991. Windstorm, thunderbolt and hailstorm Windstorm occurs mainly during the dry season from March to May. Thunderbolt occurs during the monsoon and hailstorm takes place in the beginning and end of the monsoon. Hailstorm causes
  4. 4. heavy losses of agricultural crops though human loss is seldom. Windstorm and thunderbolt causes loss of human life as well as physical property. This year (1999) windstorm and thunderbolt killed 22 and injured 37. The disaster killed 50 cattle heads, destroyed 85 houses and cattle sheds and affected 348 families causing a total loss of about NRs 7.2 million. Drought Some parts of the country face the problem of drought. Uneven and irregular monsoonal rainfall is the main cause. The mountainous region (the northern belt) of Nepal is generally dry. Lack of irrigation facilities makes the problem even more serious as prolonged drought condition has adverse effect in crop production. The drought of 1994 affected 35 districts of the country destroying the agricultural crops cultivated in about 157, 628 hectares of land. Political conflict and insurgencies The official closure of civil conflict in Nepal saw new forms of conflict in the Terai. This conflict is extremely unpredictable in itself. Even if it was predictable it would still not be easy to predict humanitarian impacts or the obstacles to effective responses. The unofficial figure of the displacement from the People's War is at least two hundred thousand people within a period of twelve years and loss of lives hovers around 14,000. Immediate response on it might be the exploration of the situation and impact of conflicts on the lives of poor and excluded groups. D. IMPACTS OF DISASTERS Thousands of families every year are being homeless due to natural disasters, mostly poor families. Since they usually live in the disaster prone areas due to socio economic conditions; it is obvious that they are more victimized. It is because most of the people are forced to settle in the banks of rivers as the land price is comparatively less or can be occupied temporarily without much hassle. Women are even more affected because they have to go for collecting firewood, fodder and grass from nearby forests. Settlement in the hazard/risk affected area without taking any preventive measures (using poor construction materials), haphazard use of land for agriculture and other activities, and depletion of natural resources (for example, forest) in Churia (causing heavy soil erosion and landslides) also invite disaster risks. The disaster consequences can be categorized in two ways: erosion of livelihood options and denial of human rights. Most part of rural areas are often inhabited by low income groups dependent upon agriculture, livestock, daily wage, forest products, small business, and service for their livelihoods. Once disasters occur people are mere dependent (for a long time) of outside source in absence of community safety nets and weak government infrastructure and support systems. Neither do they usually have alternative sets of skill to begin elsewhere from scratch. Due to the socio-economic condition and lack of awareness among people, they are not been able to cope with hazards. As the hazard increases, vulnerability also increases due to the multiple effects of the previous hazards. Thousands of families are rendered landless and displaced, forced to settle in the public lands. Denial of Rights is also a consequence of disaster. Though, International human rights law does not speak explicitly about the right to protection and relief from disasters, but it is clearly implied. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says in article 3, 'Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.' Article 25 says: 'Everyone has the right to standard of living adequate for the health and well- being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of
  5. 5. unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, or old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.' The tables below show the numerical impacts of disasters: Direct losses due to Earthquakes (1970-2003): Item Number Value of direct losses (NR) Total number of events 22 Death 876 Injury 6,840 Affected 4,539 Buildings Destroyed 33,706 8,200,838,000 Buildings Damaged 55,234 1,309,606,450 Livestock death 2,215 11,075,000 Total loss at present value (NR) 9,566,605,507 Average loss per year due to earthquake 289,897,136 Loss estimates (2001-07): People House Destroyed Land Loss Affected Shed Year Death Missing Injured Animal Loss omp. Partly C Ha Family Destroyed 2001 173 95 120 15348 796 5229 0 369 520 2002 196 45 88 7901 377 2995 939 212 0 2003 441 21 265 38859 2024 13956 4204 771 0 2004 232 58 76 7167 865 2683 334 174 0 2005 131 11 24 14238 495 2552 1132 143 0 2006 141 20 31 2088 360 1090 12 49 0 2007 114 30 39 18385 9980 2946 388 1300 7378 Source: Ministry of Home Affairs, Division of Disaster Management Disaster Losses in Nepal during 1971 – 2006 (37 Years): Direct Loss Land Loss destroyed Livestock Buildings Buildings Reported damaged Affected (Million Peoples Events Injury Death Death S. No. NRs) (Ha) 1 DROUGHT 1 - 1,512 - - 329,332 - 10 2 EARTHQUAKE 873 6,842 4,539 33,710 63 - 2,257 22.8337+50 3 EPIDEMIC 15,529 37,773 323,896 - - 1 78 0 4 FIRE 1,081 735 218,128 62,634 2,762 352 113,922 6,244 5 FLOOD 2,864 349 3,315,781 70,115 1,041 196,955 31,117 3,713 6 FOREST FIRE 24 13 10,178 1,698 18 3,173 82 1,031 7 LANDSLIDE 3,899 1,188 480,069 16,779 1,209 21,797 9,046 835 8 OTHER 2,385 2,670 360,725 3,917 388 290,323 79,935 2,030 TOTAL 26,656 49,570 4,715,828 188,875 5,482 841,954 236,459 13,885 Note: The number "o" does not mean that the events were occurred but are unreported.
  6. 6. E. ACTORS IN DISASTER MANAGEMENT After the evidence of Asian Tsunami and mandate from WCDR II Disaster Management has become the talk of Development Organizations and DRR issues are taken as an intervention menu of NGOs in Nepal. However, it still remains a token of the resources available. Out of 25 bilateral/ multilateral donor agencies functioning in Nepal only 6/7 (USAID, JICA, DFID, EU, AusAid, ICRC and World Bank) have been involved in Emergency and Disaster Management. Similarly, out of 160 INGOs in Nepal only 20 have incorporated Emergency and Disaster Management as an intervention sector. However, the portion allocated for preparedness and DRR is negligible compared to investment in other humanitarian response. An unofficial estimate made in 2006/2007 revealed that about 40 million Rupees invested for pre disaster DM/DRR works and 160 million Rupees spent per year for the emergency response and recovery purpose since last 5 years flood in Nepal by Government, non government and international community. It shows resource is not a constraint, but prioritizing it still is a problem. Here are some prominent agencies involved in Emergency and Disaster Management sector; pre, post and during the disaster. Nepal Government In each district, a CDO under the instruction of Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) acts as the disaster manager at the time of natural disasters. S/he is responsible to formulate national policies and plans for implementation; prepare preparedness plans and mitigation measures; involve in immediate rescue and relief works; have a plan to conduct data collection work and dissemination to relevant agencies, and manage and distribute funds to the DNDRC during peak emergency period. Realizing the urgency of an executive organization, Ministry of Home constituted a new Section to deal in disaster towards the end of the Ninth Plan (1997 –02), then called Department of Narcotics Control and Disaster Management. This is the central and highest government authority in the implementation of the disaster response program in Nepal. The MoLD is responsible to build the capacity of local bodies; support in preparing plans and policies for better management of local areas; promote the role of local government in the provision of small infrastructure such as agricultural roads and small-scale river training work; and mobilize the local bodies in the distribution of the relief materials. District Development Committee (DDC) and Village Development Committee (VDC) have been responding to the disaster situations at district level. In the recent days, it has started coordination with local NGOs and donor agencies to manage relief operations. Department of Water Induced Disaster Prevention (DWIDP) is establish in order to carryout activities related to water-induced disaster prevention and management such as river training, landslides and slope protection, mitigate and manage the damages caused by water-induced disasters (such as flood, landslides, soil and bank erosion, debris flow) and to protect infrastructures, land, properties and lives (JICA is also supporting this initiative). The Divisional Irrigation Office implements local level flood mitigation activities through Irrigation and River Training Committees (IRTC). These committees are headed by Chief District Officers (CDOs). IRTC has provision for Chief District Officer as chairperson with memberships of Local Development Officer, DDC Representatives, District Agriculture Development Officer, District Forests Officer, District Soil Conservation Officer, and District Irrigation Engineer. Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management (DSCWM) contributes to flood mitigation through soil conservation and watershed management, which are critical in promoting flood impact mitigation. It also is the main implementing agency for the execution of 'watershed management policy'. The roles of DSCWM are to involve in the formulation of plan, policies and legislations; prepare the simple guideline for the execution of the activities like gully control, trail improvement, small-scale irrigation and drinking water system to conserve watershed of upper catchments; and implement the activities such as social and gender development; agro-farming, enterprises development and community forestry program in an integrated approach.
  7. 7. The role of Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) is to establish river-gauging stations to monitor the situation of rivers, carry out study by sampling of suspended sediments and introduce hydro-meteorological stations. Apart from these, it also develops measures for flood forecasting system through systematic data collection using GIS and hydrological modeling tools and provides relevant flood related data to India and Bangladesh for detail analysis. Bilateral, Research and Relief Institutions The role of the bilateral organizations such as Japan International Cooperation agency (JICA), United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), United State Agency for International Development (USAID) and Technical Cooperation of the Federal Republic of Germany (GTZ) is to provide technical backstopping to the agencies involved in the disaster management. The research institutions like Asian Disaster Reduction Centre (ADRC), Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC) and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) are involved in research and studies in the contemporary issues of disaster management. The Tribhuvan University has established a Center for Disaster Studies and Mountain Risk Engineering unit for training purpose. Similarly, Kathmandu University has a Disaster Management Faculty for Masters Students and several engineering institutes are teaching disaster sciences. International Non-governmental Organizations (INGOs) The body of INGOs are the ones to quickly reach the disaster sites. However, the response activities are limited mainly on the rescue and relief works. In the last few years, it has demonstrated the success model of the “Community Based Disaster Preparedness (CBDP) Programme” in the areas affected from the landslides and floods. Most of other international organizations join with Nepal Red Cross in the time of disaster relief works to avoid duplication. Among them, Oxfam is committed to support poor and disadvantaged people to bring about positive and sustainable change and reduce their vulnerability to flood disaster through the river basin program. Oxfam has a long term program to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable people living in Terai region using the rights-based approach. Lutheran World Service Nepal has Disaster Preparedness Project since 1996 focusing on disaster preparedness, response and mitigation at the grassroots level. These activities are Community Based Disaster Preparedness (CBDP), strengthening of strategic relationships, building cooperative partnerships and launching School Earthquake Awareness Training (SEAT) program. Recently, it has extended its Disaster Preparedness Project in several districts. Danish Christian Aid (DCA) is a core member of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). ActionAid Nepal is responding to emergencies such as flood and earthquake disasters but is limited to relief and rehabilitation to date. It is gradually shifting its priorities, along with relief and rehabilitation, to preparedness and capacity building of community-based organizations to cope with disaster situations. Committed to Rights-based approach, it is working primarily in community-based disaster preparedness, disaster risk reduction through school, school safety, and safety-net campaigns in line with Hyogo Framework of Action and MDG. The United Mission to Nepal (UMN), as one of the largest non-government service agencies in the country has large number of skilled manpower and effective facilities, which can be helpful in any disaster response situation. After the 1993 floods, landslides and debris flows, UNDP established a full time UN Disaster Management Secretariat (UN-DMS) to support Nepal Government's disaster response efforts. The major objectives of the program are to increase disaster management capacity of the government
  8. 8. agencies, and I/NGOs, the disaster-affected communities, and to assist to UN Disaster Management Secretariat Communities. The major disaster management work under ICIMOD includes regional workshops, trainings, hazard mapping using GIS and preparation of a Climatic-Hydrological Atlas of Nepal using available information. ICIMOD initiated the regional cooperation on the disaster management programme since 2002. Care Nepal is widely involved in agriculture and natural resource management programs focusing on the livelihoods of disaster-affected people within the flood- and landslide-prone areas. More specifically, it has been implementing the watershed management program in the Terai and the middle hills with a primary focus to reduce impacts of landslides/flood disasters. CARE also has some works in the flood mitigation and preparedness. Practical Action is a UK-based INGO with main focus on establishing use of appropriate technology by demonstrating and disseminating knowledge and influencing decision-makers. It is piloting early warning systems (EWS) for flood and landslides in selected areas of Banke, Bardiya, Chitwan and Nawalparasi districts. United States Office for Disaster Assistance (US/OFDA) and Disaster preparedness of European Commission Humanitarian Aid department (DIPECHO) have been providing financial assistance to run several disaster-related programs in South Asia. It has been channelling these assistances also through international organizations such as DFID and AusAid as cosponsors. Donor agencies such as World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and OPEC Fund are also involved in flood management through their loans in the Irrigation and Flood Protection Sector. Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and networks There is handful of NGOs working in disaster sector in Nepal. Among them, National Society for Earthquake Technology-Nepal (NSET-Nepal) is a very active NGO working admirably in the field of earthquake safety and preparedness with the mission of assisting all communities in Nepal to become earthquake safer by developing and implementing organized approaches. Similarly, National Centre for Disaster Management (NCDM), ECO-Nepal, Nepal Geologic Society (NGS), Nepal Landslide Society (NELS), Natural Disaster Management Forum (NDMF), Friends Service Council Nepal (FSCN), Institute of Engineering (IOE), Nepal Engineering College (NEC), Disaster Preparedness Network (DPNET), Disaster Management Action Network Nepal (DiMaNN), and Task Group on Disaster Management (TGDM – within AIN) are other important NGOs and their networks with some significant works under their belts. F. POLICY PROVISIONS AND GOVERNANCE STRUCTURES Being the secretariat of the Central Committee, Natural Disaster Management Section (Home Ministry) is the apex body (to implement policies and programs with proper coordination) in natural disaster management in Nepal. However, its performance has always been put into question due to inadequate service delivery and planning. As its role is general administration including peace and security, it has no priority agenda to deal with disaster events. Formation of a new independent institution to deal with disaster management is therefore urgently required. National Plan and framework As a separate legal provision requires correct measures to make arrangements for the operation of relief works, the Natural Disaster (Relief) Act, 1982 came to force immediately after its enactment. The Act is the guiding document for disaster management. A National Action Plan on Disaster Management was formulated in 1996 taking consideration into different aspects of the natural disaster. The Tenth Plan (PRSP) 2002-2007, recognizing the impact of disaster in poverty reduction, has mentioned specific strategies for natural disaster management. These are the primary in-country legal and policy documents that directly address natural disasters. The response
  9. 9. mechanism in Nepal is divided into four key factors such as disaster preparedness; emergency response; rehabilitation and reconstruction; and mitigation. The disaster management program follows the CBDP/CBDM model. The pre-disaster action involves prevention, displacement, early preparedness and early awareness, while the post-disaster measures involve effective relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation. Despite such elaborate plans and procedures, a truly long-term plan of action has not been effectively put into place. There are basically three levels or tiers in disaster management system in the country: • The top most tiers are the national planning commission headed by the Prime Minister, in which representatives of various ministries are members. The highest policy making body also extensively involves some multilateral organizations like UNDP, DFID, USAID and international organizations like ICIMOD, GTZ, SNV, ActionAid, CARE, Safe the Children, Oxfam, Red Cross Society to provide techno-managerial support. NGOs are also a part of the consultative group of the national disaster management program. • The second tier of decision making in emergency situation is the district level committee, headed by the chief district officer. Some district departments, Red Cross Societies, NGOs as well as other CSOs are involved in the district level committee. • The lowest tier of the disaster plan of action involves the Disaster Management Committees (DMC), Users committee or village-level groups, who monitor the functions in the community. Resource distribution is done through the District as well as Village Development Communities. However, a major failure of the Nepal disaster management program is that it involves only response action and lacks preparedness. The plan is inclined more towards relief work than overall disaster management. The policy action in times of calamities was legislated through the natural calamity Act of 1982 and 1992, wherein clear-cut guidelines were mentioned vis-à-vis calamity response. Pursuant to the Act, a National Calamity Act Fund was created. The overall authority in management of the fund is at the central level and the movement of resources is through the five regional funds, seventy-five district funds and umpteen numbers of village-level community groups on calamity mitigation. Laws and Regulations There are various plans, strategies, policies and legislation that have been spelt out for the provision of the disaster management. A brief overview are as follows. Natural Disaster (Relief) Act, 1982 Nepal did not have disaster policy until 1982. Relief and rescue works were carried out as voluntary social works. Central Natural Disaster Relief Committee (CNDRC) is the outcome of Natural Disaster Act (1982). In order to support the CNDRC, five others committees are envisioned such as Relief and Treatment Sub-Committee (RTSC), Supply, Shelter and Rehabilitation Sub-committee (SSRSC), Regional Natural Disaster Relief Committee (RNDRC), District Natural Disaster Relief Committees (DNDRC) and Local Natural Disaster Relief Committees (LNDRC). The rationale of CNDRC is to formulate and implement policies and programs regarding natural disaster relief work, and to undertake other necessary measures. Moreover, the CNDRC prepares specific norms for relief assistance, in cash and/or in kind, to be distributed to disaster victims of affected areas. The role of RNDRC is to provide necessary advice and suggestion to the CNDRC, help execute policies and directives of the CNDRC, and operate effectively the rescue, relief and rehabilitation work.
  10. 10. The CNDRC organizes meetings as and when necessary under the chairpersonship MoHA. It can invite concerned Member of Parliament representing the district affected by a natural disaster to share the situation, ideas, and prepare plan of action to deal with disaster. According to recent provision: • To provide up to NRs.10,000 as relief assistance to the family of a dead victim. • To provide treatment in the nearest hospital or health post. Even airlift seriously injured people and taken to a more advanced hospital. • To provide up to NRs.3,000 if a house is destroyed in a natural disaster, up to NRs.2,000 if a house is not safe and under disaster threat (temporary settlement), seven KG of rice or up to NRs.125 (food grain assistance) and NRs 500 (clothing and utensils) for a homeless person. • To provide up to NRs.500 as immediate relief assistance to those who have completely lost their land and crops and have nothing to eat. • To provide timber for house construction at a lower price.   This Act is the sectoral comprehensive legal instrument in response to disaster in Nepal. This Act focuses on the post-disaster activities. It authorizes GoN to delegate anyone to undertake relief work. The Act has constituted the Central Disaster Relief Committee on the chairmanship of the Home Minister at the central level. National Action Plan (NAP) Nepal constituted a high level National Committee for International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) in the decade of 1990s in the initiation of the United Nations. This committee formulated policies for disaster management. The plan has specified priority groups, activities and executive agencies to be undertaken in disaster management. The NAP also specifies the responsibilities of various disaster actors, with specified time frames within which they implement their disaster reduction tasks by formulating special plan of action and mobilize the available resources in the given period. Soil and Watershed Conservation Act, 1982 The Soil and Watershed Act, 1982 allows protected watershed areas to be designated, and vested the powers which may be exercised by a Soil and Watershed Conservation Officer in those areas. Although protection of watershed areas is essential to disaster management, the scheme of the Act has particular implications for individuals cultivating land within them. Building Act (1987) and Building (Construction) Code (1994) Building Act (1987) and Building Construction Code (1994) have spelt out provisions for disaster management. But these provisions are not enforced in all parts of Nepal. Building Act spells out for the construction of houses on the secure place whereas Building Construction Act specifies Do's and Don'ts in building construction. These provisions are made to mitigate damages from earthquakes. Water Resources Act, 1992 As water resource management can have implications in disaster management, Water Resource Act deserves a serious scrutiny in disaster management. The Act makes provision for the appropriate utilization, protection, management and development of surface, underground and other sources of water. Although the thrust of the Act is towards regulating corporate use of water, nothing in the Act prejudices the power of HMG to exploit water potentials. In this Regard, HMG may acquire water resources from any person and develop them for use in such a way as to benefit a larger number of people. Forest Act, 1993 The Forest Act, 1993 aims to establish a comprehensive structure for the management of all forest areas in Nepal. The importance of forest products to rural communities and the need for regulation
  11. 11. of access to forest areas means that the Act is fundamental to development. Since, poverty is the cause of deforestation and deforestation is the cause of disaster, management of forest plays a vital role to address disaster management. Environment Protection Act, 1996 Since ultimate result of environmental degradation is disaster. Therefore, consideration for one by requires attention to the other. The main task of environment protection legislation is to prevent environmental pollution, ultimate result of which will contribute to effective disaster management. Amongst other, this Act has attempted to protect the environment by encapsulating the provision of environment impact assessment, which requires developers of projects to assess the likely environmental impacts before it is carried out. The main objective of environmental impact assessment is to ensure that environment considerations are incorporated into the planning for, deciding of, and implementation of development activities. Local Self-Governance Act, 1998 Local Self-Governance Act, 1998 aims to provide opportunity for the sovereign people to participate in the process of resource mobilization, development and distribution of development outcomes by de-centralization of power centers. Engagement is sought particularly in formulation of plans, their implementation, and decision making on the matters of daily concerned of local people. The Local Self-Governance Act (1999) is surprisingly silent on the provision of disaster management. So there is no provision of flood and landslide related disaster prevention in this Act by virtue of autonomy, according to which local bodies can formulate disaster plan, policy, and programs within their jurisdictions. Watershed Management Policy, 1993 The watershed management policy is developed to conserve the watersheds. It envisions helping people meet their local needs by improving land and increasing agricultural productivity through proper conservation and mitigation of watershed resources in an integrated approach. The policy emphasizes on mobilizing the local community as well as raising awareness through user groups. Tenth Five Year plan (2002-07) The tenth five-year plan has given high priority for water-induced disaster prevention. The major goals are as follows: • Formulate policies, guidelines related to water-induced disaster management. • Collect information through participatory hazard mapping. • Prepare flood plan management guidelines. • Help to strengthening of inundation committee/other groups involving in the disaster. • Mobilize external resources in water-induced disaster prevention sector. • Prepare master plan for river and landslides management. • Arrange inventory of rivers flowing to/from neighboring countries, and • Strengthen institutional set-up for efficient execution. The Constitution of Nepal (1990/2006) The Constitution is the masterpiece of all laws and legislation. Unfortunately, it does not say anything about right to get relief and protection from disaster in particular, but it can be related to right to life and individual liberty under article 12. Right to life has meticulous dimensions. The supreme court of Nepal has interpreted the right as to include the dignified life embodying the right to shelter, health, clean environment etc. So, it can be said that the human rights with respect to the disaster response, such as right to protection, right to rehabilitation, right to resettlement from any disaster can be defined under this Constitution.
  12. 12. National Water Plan, 2005 In order to implement the 25-year National Water Resources Strategy, 2002, the Government has recently ratified the National Water Plan, 2005. It has formulated 5 Years, 15 years and 25 years targets up to the year 2025. The focus of Water Induced Disaster management during the first 5 years is to enhance institutional capabilities for managing water-induced disasters. In the following ten years, to adopt effective measures for better management of water-induced disasters and mitigation of their adverse effects. The long-term goal is to make Nepal's water disaster management system fully functional, effective and responsive to people's needs. River Control Policy, 1999 River control policy is developed by Department of Irrigation in 1999. It emphasis the need for a new comprehensive approach to flood mitigation and river control through use of local material, instead of relying solely on gabion–wires; incorporation of bio-engineering in river control facilities, combination of structural and non-structural measures, and capacity- building/institutional development of community organizations for flood mitigation measures. This draft policy has also stressed the need for a more systematic approach to river control in the Terai and the establishment of river classification, design criteria and databases. Biodiversity Strategy (2002) Government of Nepal with the support of World Bank and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is formulating a long-term National Water Resources Strategy. The strategy is expected to directly address the needs of the poor and marginalized people, thereby contributing to improved living conditions for the poorest sectors of the Nepali population. Altogether nine programs have been identified under this strategy. National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA) The draft NAPA document addresses Global Warming and Climate Change Impact dealing with temperature and rainfall changes, ecology of the mountain region, and the impacts on socio- economic activity of downstream population by the natural calamities and disaster. Nepal is formulating NAPA with the involvement of multi-disciplinary team, which was coordinated by Ministry of Environment Science and Technology (MOEST). The document regarding the process for the NAPA preparation is in the endorsement pipeline by MOEST officials. Water Induced Disaster management Policy, 2006 The DWIDP, developed a Comprehensive River Law to provide the guideline for overall river management and administration in consultation with the concerned stakeholders. For the management of water-induced disasters as a part of river basin management and working simultaneously in line with the principle of Integrated Water Resources Management, GoN has recently approved this policy with the following five objectives: • Mitigating the loss of lives and property arising from water-induced disasters like flood and landslide. • Preserving rivers, river basins, and water related environment for the sustainable use of natural resources and facilities like water supply, irrigation, water navigation, road transport etc. • Reclaiming riverbanks and flood affected areas for the rehabilitation of landless people and conduct of socio-economic activities in the area. • Institutionalizing development for the control of water induced disasters and management of flood affected areas. • Defining the role of local and central government institutions; NGOs; community organizations and private institutions in the management of rivers. G. OPPORTUNITIES AND GOOD PRACTICES Hyogo Framework of Action (2005-2015)
  13. 13. Recognizing the significance of promoting emergency management and disaster risk reduction efforts at the international, national and local levels in the past few years, The World Conference on Disaster Reduction, held on January 2005 in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan, has adopted the Framework for Action 2005-2015. This framework has been agreed to by 168 governments’ world wide, as the international framework for disaster reduction. The goals set by the HFA 2005-2015 are: a) Integration of disaster risk reduction into sustainable development policies and planning, b) development and strengthening of institutions, mechanisms and capacities to build resilience to hazards, and c) systematic incorporation of risk reduction approaches into the implementation of emergency preparedness, response and recovery program.1 The HFA provides logical steps for achieving DRR; knowledge of the risk faced, especially from a participatory process. Once the risk is known and there is commitment for reducing the risk, one needs the knowledge, skills, and methodologies for reducing the risk. The next priority action stresses on knowledge management for DRR aiming at propagating the knowledge and empowering communities. The next step is targeting the causative factors; thus, it focuses on risk assessment as the starting point for DRR. However, risk reduction is a long-term process, and there is always some residual risk at any point of time, hence the Framework suggests disaster preparedness for effective response. Nepal has expressed her commitments to DRR by signing the HFA 2005-2015. In the recent past, after WCDR II and commencement of HFA, there is a positive sign for disaster management in Nepal. After a rigorous exercise and pressure from the NGOs and civil societies; GoN agreed to revise its Jubilee Old Disaster (Relief) Act. As a result, a new draft Disaster Management Act 2007 and Disaster Management Policy have been developed and submitted to MoHA for their enactment. All new Act, policy and strategies have incorporated the Rights Based Approach to disaster management. Persons affected by natural disasters should enjoy the same rights and freedoms under human right and national law as others. Protection shall not be limited to securing the survival and physical security of those affected by natural disaster. The full range of social, economic and cultural rights should be secured. The issue of “protection” and “Human security” has been ensured in these documents which are rights related to: physical security and integrity; basic necessities of life; social, economic and cultural protection needs; and civil and protection needs. Proposed National Strategy for Disaster Risk Management The National Strategy for Disaster Risk Management is a commitment of the GoN to reflect the paradigm shift towards protection as part of the fulfillment of basic rights of people. It also expresses the desire of people and GoN to reduce disaster risks to an acceptable level for safeguarding their lives, properties, development investments, cultural heritage as well as to mitigate the adverse impact to the environment thereby contributing to the aspirations of alleviating poverty and improving the quality of life. The National Strategy recognizes the following as the main characteristics of the process of Disaster Risk management: 1 It also recommends five priorities for action: • Priority Action 1: Ensure that disaster risk reduction (DRR) is a national and a local priority with a strong institutional basis for implementation. • HFA Priority Action 2: Identify, assess and monitor disaster risks and enhance early warning. • HFA Priority Action 3: Use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels • HFA Priority Action 4: Reduce the underlying risk factors • HFA Priority Action 5: Strengthen Disaster preparedness for effective response
  14. 14. • Integrating risk reduction concerns; safeguarding lives, livelihoods and assets of communities by promoting disaster-resilience; developing appropriate institutional, policy and legislative mechanisms for holistic disaster risk management at all levels, with involvement of all- stakeholder approach is essential for achieving the national goal of sustainable development and poverty reduction. • Citizen of the country have the right for dignified life and livelihood and that the government is responsible to ensure protection from disasters, which in essence is avoidable, with no risk creation in recovery/ rehabilitation process; being accountable to the communities at risk and communities impacted by disaster, and being sensitive to such values as social equity, justice and inclusion, gender- and ethnicity- equality, and putting especial efforts in case of marginalized communities, Dalits, deprived and physically handicapped. Proposed National Commission for Disaster Risk Management (NCDRM) The NCDRM is chaired by the Prime Minister. The leader of the opposition will serve ex-officio as the Deputy Chairperson of the Commission. Other Members may include all cabinet ministers including ministers of Communication, Defense, Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Education and Social Welfare, Chief of the Army Staff, Inspector General of Police, Inspector General of the Armed Police, at least two representatives of Civil Society, and any other person of repute appointed or co-opted by the Chairperson. The NCDRM has the following functions: • Endorse national policies on disaster risk management • Approve the National DRM Plan, sectoral plans for DRM, and the national programs for the reduction of specific natural hazards. • Arrange for, and oversee, the provision of funds for disaster risk reduction, preparedness, response and recovery measures, and • Provide policy guidance for bi-lateral, sub-regional (SAARC), regional and international cooperation in areas of disaster risk management The operating arm of the NCDRM is the National Authority for Disaster Risk Management (NADRM). Proposed National Authority for Disaster Risk Management (NADRM) NADRM will serve as the national focal point and coordinating body for facilitating and monitoring implementation of disaster risk management strategies in Nepal. This necessitates NADRM to directly interact/communicate with all stakeholders, including ministries, departments, and district level institutions in matters related to the planning and implementation of DRR initiatives. The proposed legislation should provide such authority to the NADRM. NADRM will be the single authority to manage response, early recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation in case of national or regional disaster. For this purpose, to institutionalize operations, all stakeholders including government departments/agencies and emergency responders will work through and form a part of NADRM for the stated period. In case of a disaster affecting a single district, NADRM will provide guidance and support to the District Authority for Disaster Risk Management (DADRM). Formulation of District Preparedness Plan District Disaster Relief Committees (DDRC) have been constituted in each district as provisioned in NDRA, 1982. In addition, there are five Regional Disaster Relief Committees representing five development regions of the country. MOHA provides annual budgets to the DDRC to implement the District Action Plans of each district. The budget is dispensed to each district on the basis of request of requisite fund either spent or planned amount for expenditure by each DDRC.
  15. 15. For now, only annual disaster preparedness plans are in place and implemented accordingly. For a long time, it was thought that broad based District Disaster Preparedness Plans have to be prepared if disasters are to be managed properly. The GoN with assistance from UNDP started choosing 5 model districts viz. Chitwan, Makawanpur, Sindhuli, Syangja and Tanahun out of 22 districts which are frequently ravaged by natural disasters. Accordingly, district disaster management action plans for five pilot districts were prepared during 2001-2004. Of the five, Chitwan District Disaster Management Action Plan was officially released recently under the title 'Total Disaster Risk Management Pilot Exercise' District-level Community Based Disaster Preparedness Plan There are several Community-based Disaster Preparedness Plan developed in Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Udayapur, Saptari, Dhanusha, Sarlahi, Makwanpur, Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Kathmandu and Lalitpur, Rupandehi, Kapilvastu, Banke, Bardiya Kailali and Doti. These Action Plans were prepared with the support of DIPECHO partners, which are ActionAid, CARE, LWF, Mercy Corps, Oxfam GB, Practical Action and UNDP. Local-level Disaster Preparedness Plans Communities are also involved in the preparedness activities. The local Disaster Management Committees (DMC) are formed at the community level to prepare preparedness plans for floods and earthquakes, training and rehearsals on Earthquake flood search and rescue, but in a very limited number. Many international and local NGOs are helping them to prepare these plans. Kathmandu Valley Earthquake Risk Management Project (KVERMP) Kathmandu Valley Earthquake Risk Management Project (KVERMP) was implemented during 1997-2000 by the National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET) in association with Geo Hazards International (GHI), USA. They carried out the loss estimation study for a possible repeat of the 1934 earthquake in the modern day Kathmandu Valley using earthquake loss models as ATC-13. The study covered the likely loss in human lives and the damage to existing infrastructures. A scenario document entitled Kathmandu Valley's Earthquake Scenario explaining the results of the loss estimation was published in 1999 for the general public both in English and Nepali. The study estimated a minimum of 22,000 and maximum of 40,000 human deaths. NSET and Geo Hazards International, USA also produced "The Kathmandu Valley Earthquake Risk Management Action Plan” for managing earthquake risks of the Kathmandu valley. The detailed Study on Earthquake Disaster Mitigation (SEDM) in the Kathmandu Valley was done by Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs and several other Nepalese institutions. It provides a detailed 14 assessment of seismic vulnerability and damage analysis of existing buildings, public facilities, and lifeline networks including human casualty figures for different earthquake scenarios in 2001-2002. Safety-net campaign Safety-net campaign is an initiative under taken by ActionAid Nepal. It carries the value of "human security" at the center with Rights-based approach to Disaster Management. Under this, awareness, organization, and advocacy are the key intervention areas followed by capacity building and resource mobilization. This also addresses the issues of vulnerability and hazards of the poor, excluded and vulnerable groups. This initiative is developed in collaboration with local NGOs and stakeholders (all institutions at community, VDC, district, and national level) to influence the decision makers and development actors to come out with a development program, to integrate disaster risk reduction in favor of the rights holders i.e. poor, women, boys and girls for building resilience to Disaster. In addition, "Safety-net campaign" analyzes the underlying causes behind people’s vulnerability to disaster risk and enacts social security and protection measures to sustain their livelihoods.
  16. 16. DRR through school Nepal Red Cross Society, Save the Children Alliance and ActionAid Nepal are among the pioneers to initiate disaster risk reduction through schools. The overall framing of this initiative is provided by the HFA. The central focus is on reducing risks and vulnerabilities to disasters through innovative work in the education sector. The HFA 2005-2015 seeks to ensure that disaster risk reduction is a national and local priority through using both national platforms and community participation. The framework is explicit about using ‘knowledge, innovation and education' to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels. It specifically refers to the inclusion of disaster risk reduction in education. School safety NSET pioneered the School Earthquake Safety Program (SESP) in 1997 when it was included as a direct component of Kathmandu Valley Earthquake Risk Management Program (KVERMP) The findings of the Kathmandu valley earthquake vulnerability assessment survey of public schools carried out in 1998 were very alarming: The study showed as much as 60% of the public school buildings are highly vulnerable and risky to use even in normal conditions. This situation urged to implement vulnerability reduction programs in schools which led to a pilot program of retrofitting public schools in Kathmandu valley in 1999 with the initiative of making schools safer against earthquakes. Since then SESP has been implemented in more than 23 schools in different parts of the country. Disaster Inventory/Information Management Systems in Nepal (DIMS) UNDP in collaboration with NSET has established a systematic database of natural disaster events in Nepal covering a period of 33 years (1971-2003) and it entered them into a software called "DesInventar". It is a methodical tool developed by Latin American Network for Social Studies on Disaster Prevention (LARED) H. GAPS AND CHALLENGES IN DISASTER RESPONSE The following are some major challenges that are considered obstacles in managing the emergency and disaster. They are categorized into four segments i.e. institutional, social, administrative and technical, which are discussed hereunder. Institutional/policy challenges • Institutions involved in the rescue and relief work are inactive. Mainly because there is no single authority to deal in disaster holding true the statement "everybody's responsibility is nobody's responsibility". • Inadequate policy and legal environment are the biggest impediments in disaster management. Development of an effective institutional mechanism had always been preferred but without any success. Absence of organizational outfit at the highest level that could be tasked to provide intellectual and administrative leadership is seriously noted in Nepal. Improving on the role of leadership and the creation of National Disaster Risk Management Council or National Emergency Operations Centre, backed by appropriate legislative instrument, seems to be the priority agenda for Nepal. • The National Action Plan for Disaster Management (1996) gives the details of the plan meant for all 75 districts through DDRC. However, only five districts have such plans and only in one district government has formally launched it. As a result, DDRCs are presently using the annual budget received from MoHA in post disaster activities alone. • Hazard maps of the most susceptible areas have not yet been prepared for all categories of natural disasters. In absence of such maps, programs could not be implemented to avoid natural hazards.
  17. 17. • NDRA is silent in describing the duties and responsibilities of all disaster management agencies other than the MoHA. Similarly, issues of coordination and mutual understanding among them are not reflected in NDRA. Three government ministries and four departments who are supposed to be engaged are constrained (although their roles and responsibilities are defined) due to lack of coordination among the agencies (owing to complex bureaucratic structure). The same situation is at the local level. Inter-ministerial coordination is also weak. Though Home Ministry is responsible for the instant rescue and support, the resettlement program is responsibility of Ministry of Physical Planning and Works. • The River Law fails to inform the stakeholders related to river management (specifying its crucial phenomenon and mitigating measures, and allowing the private sector and NGOs in river management). • NAP has specified priority groups, activities, and executive agencies in the field of disaster management. So it is more progressive than other plans in the sense it emphasizes the importance of local knowledge and skills as well as people's capacity and awareness along with technical measures to mitigate disasters. But the plan is very poor in terms of implementation. • Commitments are often impressive but the level of enforcement is very weak. During the International Decade for Disaster Mitigation (1991-2000), government has formulated action plan that mainly focuses on the issue of mitigating disaster imposed by flood and landslides, but was never been implemented. • Very few NGOs willing to work in disaster mitigation because they are not allowed to work directly during the disaster and emergency. Social challenges • Due to lack of awareness, perception of most rural people is that natural disasters are the acts of God. They are yet to believe preventive measures could reduce the impacts of natural disasters. • The problem of unemployment also discourages people to think about disaster in advance. • Only elites have access to DNDRC as it primarily is representative of their interests. Disaster victims have little access to these committees. • Natural disaster never made it to a political manifestos, as a result has remained as a least priority sector for politicians. • In collecting support for the disaster victims, NGOs are far ahead than government institutions. Huge amount of relief materials such as tents, clothes, money, foodstuffs, utensils are collected from different sectors. But because of the weak monitoring system, it is very difficult to determine who benefited from the efforts. • The priority of disaster management practice, so far, is mostly on the post disaster activities (rescue and relief works), which is also a common mindset of the people and organizations working in this field. It is because these programs are cheaper as well as considered quick profile builder. So, most works are limited to rescue efforts and not rehabilitation, which is considered cumbersome. Administrative challenges • Lack of sufficient resources is the major problem. As a result, it is difficult to repair and maintain damaged infrastructures. The process to releasing funds from government is very complex and it often leads to substantial delays both at local and national levels. It is now a trend that the budget is sanctioned only during the final quarter of fiscal year.
  18. 18. • Disaster victims do not always receive immediate and effective relief services. Delayed relief- works and duplication have also been experienced due to the absence of dialogue and mutual understanding among agencies. Often distribution is ad hoc, not systematic, transparent and there is immense political- and caste- based partiality. Sometimes complex and bureaucratic processes hinder providing the relief to victims. According to government rules, one has to submit request letter and citizenship certificates to the Chief District Officer. As most of the victims usually are uneducated and lacked the certificates, they failed to do so. • Though the government has given mandate to deal with the water-induced disasters to DWIDP, it is working with limited manpower and with 7 divisional and 5 sub divisional offices throughout the country. Present strength of DWIDP is not sufficient to manage the water induced disasters all over the country. Technical challenges • Technical manpower is hardly available at local level and on time. Absence of modern technology (early warning systems and forecasting) to cope with the emergency and disaster is also a problem. • Due to difficult geo-physical condition and inadequacy of infrastructure facilities, relief materials are difficult to deliver. • The flooding in the Terai arises also due to haphazard construction from VDC funds without technical supervision. Rehabilitation work of river barrages by India just downstream of Nepal-India border without any consultation with Nepal government also result in undue flooding. There is a standing committee to look after cross border issues, but it is largely inactive. I. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR EFFECTIVE DISASTER RESPONSE Recommendations are categorized into four levels, i.e. policies and regulations; Government; I/NGO and bilateral organizations; and at community levels. Policies and legislations • One of the major problems is certainly the Natural Disaster Relief Act (1982) which is so far without legislations. Although disaster victims have rights to get relief or protection, disaster relief is taken as government benevolence. They cannot argue and demand to secure their rights because the disaster victims have no single group and organization. So now it is time to amend the Natural Disaster Relief Act on the basis of right-based approach. It is also necessary to define the roles and responsibilities of right holders, stakeholders and duty bearers in the Act as per the changing context and lessons learned. • The majority of disaster problems are associated with the haphazard use of land in Terai and deforestation of upper catchments areas. Hence, the application and enforcement of Land Use Policy is equally important. The concerned line agencies should have proper plans to link the Land Use Policy with Natural Disaster Relief Act. • Among the disasters, water-induced ones are more crucial as they occur every year. In order to deal with these disasters, water-induced disaster management policy and plan is needed. In this plan and policy, protection and mitigation options (structural and non-structural protection works, land use restrictions and warning systems) should be specified clearly. It is useful if different policies are formed for different types of disaster. • People lack knowledge about the provisions of Building Code. So, appropriate communication mechanisms have to be in place to disseminate the major provisions of the Building Code to wider community.
  19. 19. • The available information and knowledge are sufficient to formulate simple policy and plan of action. The need of disaster management guidelines is equally important. • The disaster laws of Nepal are basically limited to post-disaster relief and response, but it is preparedness which should draw parallel emphasis, which includes the right to notice (information) of the future disaster (for vulnerable people). • The disaster legislations should cover some major aspects such as environmental protection, hazard wastes, urban and regional development (for example, land use planning), provision of quarantine, health, industrial development, natural resource management, national water resources, primary industries, energy, social security and transport for an effective integrated approach. • Natural Disaster Relief Regulation (NDRR) is yet to be formulated. In the absence of NDRR, NDRA could not be fully enforced. At present, the Natural Disaster Relief Act and Local Self- Governance Act are primarily providing the legislative framework for disaster management. But it is not enough. Central and local government • Adequate funds and resources are needed for repair and maintenance of infrastructure. In order to materialize this, concrete plans should be formulated specifying the role of agencies involved. • Effective coordination among the central and local governments is necessary to translate plan into action. MoHA should take a lead role in facilitating this. • The low-cost technologies are needed to establish early warning systems and risk mapping of hazard prone areas, especially in the Department of Climate and Meteorology. This information should be made available to all. • Disaster management component should be incorporated in all five-year plans as priority sector. Though it is already addressed in the tenth-five year plan. • It is better to allocate a separate agency (autonomous) to deal in all sorts of disaster preparedness, mitigation, and rehabilitation works. Only then, is possible to implement counter disaster programs immediately. • The government should formulate plan of action to enforce the 'building code' and disseminate its major provisions to all. • The majority of people reported that the flooding problem near the Nepal-India broader occur just because of the construction of dam near the border. In order to mitigate these problems bilateral dialogue and actions are needed time and again. • Efforts should be made on identifying and prioritizing high-risk areas and developing disaster management plans. • MoHA should release the fund for relief and rehabilitation on time to facilitate immediate actions. NGOs, INGO, bi-lateral agencies • During disasters, infrastructures such as road, water supply, electricity, bridge, schools, and houses can be damaged. But government alone cannot provide sufficient resources for repairs and maintenance. There should be a joint initiative of government, I/NGOs and private sectors for rehabilitation. • NGOs should work in disaster prone areas even during peak emergency but their activities and plans need to be transparent. The current Act should be amended as it opposes engagement of
  20. 20. NGOs. There also should be the provision of proper monitoring and evaluation of ongoing activities. • NGOs can be mobilized to manage relief materials (collect and store in the disaster prone areas for quick delivery). The rescue groups should be formed and trained properly. CBOs and Community People Level • Local people and communities are the key actors for effective disaster response. The local level stakeholders such as local administration and NGOs rely heavily on information of these people to produce further plan of action. Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen the capacity of local people and CBOs, so that when a disaster strikes, they can be immediately brought to action. • To inform people about emergency and disaster, mass education is needed. For example, literary class with the issue of disaster in the curriculum is beneficial. Intensive awareness campaigns should be organized to determine roles and priority activities which are to be carried out immediately after disasters. • In order to win people's confidence, all activities should be transparent and planned in a participatory way. This will help establish people as managers of disasters rather than mere recipient of services. • Meetings and interactions should be conducted among the stakeholders for the formulation of simple strategies or low-cost-mitigation measures. In order to adopt mitigation measures, it is important to identify level of threats and extent of vulnerability. For this, vulnerability and hazards mapping need to be prepared in the participatory way. The assessment of vulnerability condition of poor and disadvantaged and appropriate coping strategy are equally important. Community based disaster preparedness initiatives are needed for the long run to improve livelihood. • Emphasis should be given to conserve natural resources especially forest and land. For this, people have to be involved in the community plantation work, developing local forests into community forests, riverside protection work, and in conservation of upper catchments of watershed.. • Victims suffer from many social and economic constraints. In order to empower them, economic programs along with their engagement in resource management help (such as constriction of catchments ponds, involvement in production and protection activities). • The formation of policies and legislations should be pro poor. The mechanism should be developed to balance the power relationship among the various actors. • The community based preparedness programs should be formulated addressing the issues and concerns of all local level stakeholders and victims. The total investment of rehabilitation could be reduced drastically if an effective preparedness program is in place. • The relief assistance programs should be made simple so that even illiterate people can access relief. Structured formats should be discouraged.
  21. 21. REFERENCES 1. A Brief Report on Regional Disaster Management Workshop May 2000 2. A review of the security situations of working areas, ActionAid Nepal, November 2000 3. ActionAid Nepal Experience on Disaster Management, Ram Prasad Bhatterai and Shyam Jñavaly, 2001 4. Agony of Flood in Eastern UP, Analysis & Suggestions, Vol no. 1, April 2000 5. Analysis of Disaster Management with Reference to 2002 Flood and Landslide in Nepal, (2002), Action Aid Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal. 6. Base Line report, Rautahat District by Rural Service Organization, Sept 1999 7. Chetana: Natural Disaster Preparedness in Community and First Aid Book (1999), HMG/JICA/JMA, Lalitpur, Nepal. 8. Citizen Charter, 2060 9. Coping With Floods, Oxfam’s Experiences in India, 1999-2000 10. Disaster Management in Nepal: A Profile (1994), His Majesty's Government of Nepal, Ministry of Home Affairs, Kathmandu, Nepal. 11. Disaster Review (1997), Water Induced Disaster Prevention Technical Center (DPTC) and JICA (Series VI), Lalitpur, Nepal. 12. Disaster Review 2003 (2004), His Majesty's Government, Ministry of Water Resources, DWIDP, Kathmandu, Nepal. 13. DPNet Nepal Charter (draft) 2002 14. Dr. Meen B. Poudyal Chhetri, Disaster Management Policies and Operational Aspects, Disaster Review 2000 - 15. DWIDP Bulletin (2004), His Majesty's Government, Ministry of Water Resources, DWIDP, Kathmandu, Nepal. 16. Food rights and emergencies in Nepal, a paper for AA UK (EmU) by Khemraj Upadhyay 2001 17. Gautam, Dhruba Raj. 2004. Review of Disaster Situation. 2004. Action Aid Nepal. 18. GTZ GmbH, PN 93.2120.9-03.1000, Pre-feasibility Study Churia Forest Development Project (GTZ/ChFDP 1996) Nepal, Main Report 1996 19. HMG, Ministry of Home, National Action Plan on Disaster Management in Nepal (1996), 20. Marginalized Rivers and the Problems of Floods & Water logging in the Terai region of UP & Nepal: A collaborative Research Project, 2001 21. Master Plan for Forestry Sector Nepal, His Majesty’s Government of Nepal, Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, 1988 22. National Action Plan on Disaster Management in Nepal (1996), His Majesty's Government of Nepal, Ministry of Home Affairs, Kathmandu, Nepal. 23. National Water Plan - Draft Report (2004), His Majesty’s Government, Water and Energy Commission Secretariat, Kathmandu, Nepal 24. Natural Disaster Mitigation Preparedness Planning, A Source Book (2004), Care Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal. 25. Natural Disaster Preparedness and Community Level Awareness Building on Natural Disaster, A Source Book (2004), Care Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal. 26. Natural Disaster Relief Act, 1982, His Majesty's Government of Nepal. 27. Nepal: Country Assessment and Programme of Action for 2001-2002, A report prepared for the Third United Nation Conference of Least Developed Countries, Brussels 2001 28. NSET Nepal, Earthquake Hazards in Nepal – 2000 29. Oxfam GB Working Proposal on River Basin Programme South Asia, May 2000 (Unpublished) 30. Performance Review of AAN Emergency Relief Program, AAN FPSD, July 1998 31. Poudyal Chhetri, M.B. and Bhattarai Damodar (2001) " Mitigation and Management of Floods in Nepal”, HMG/Ministry of Home Affairs, Kathmandu, Nepal. 32. Problems of Disaster Management in Nepal and Measures to solve them (1998), A Report prepared by a Task Force, His Majesty's Government of Nepal, Ministry of Home Affairs, Kathmandu, Nepal. 33. SC Alliance, Emergency Preparedness Plan Nepal 2002-2004 Draft 1
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