Promoting inclusive Community Based Disaster Preparedness in the Recovery and Reconstruction of earthquake affected areas of Nepal
Nepal has a largely rural population with 82% of the population living in rural areas. The country is at high risk of natural hazards such as earthquakes, floods, fires and landslides. In the last decade, more than 7.5 million people have been affected, and more than 10,000 people have been killed by disasters in Nepal. Nepal is also ranked 4th in the world as most at risk from climate change which may increase temperature and rainfall uncertainty, and exacerbate droughts and consequently food production.
Two severe earthquakes devastated parts of Nepal in 2015, killing thousands of people, injuring many more, destroying houses, damaging water supply schemes, and disrupting livelihoods. The country is still recovering from the destruction with many people still living in temporary shelters. The earthquakes highlighted gaps in capacity for disaster response in the country, the need to build disaster preparedness at all levels, and how vital integrating disaster risk reduction into developing planning is.
The project is being implemented in four of the districts most affected by the earthquakes in central Nepal, east of the capital Kathmandu; Okhaldhunga, Ramechhap, Sindhupalchowk and Dolakha. The primary focus is in 161 communities or ‘wards’ in the hilly region of Nepal; some of which are very remote and difficult to access, particularly in the monsoon season.
There is limited infrastructure in the working districts, with poor transport links, dangerous roads and unreliable electricity and phone signal. It is a difficult place to live with some communities two days walk from the nearest road. Their remoteness meant that many of these communities were forced to respond to the 2015 earthquakes themselves while they waited for external assistance. Therefore, reducing the risk of such disasters while building preparedness for the next one is vitally important.
Overall Objective: To strengthen the resilience of communities and institutions in Nepal to the impacts of disasters.
1) Communities will be implementing inclusive and flexible local disaster risk management plans and mainstreaming them into local development and reconstruction planning processes by the end of the project.
2) District stakeholders will have strengthened capacities on inclusive community-based disaster risk management, coordination and information management for improved response by the end of the project.
3) Inclusive disaster risk reduction (DRR) practices are consolidated and used to influence national disaster management (DM) policy review and formulation through engagement with multiple stakeholders by the end of the project.
This project aims to build the resilience of communities and institutions in Nepal so they can effectively prepare for, respond to, and reduce the risk of, disasters. Mission East Nepal is leading a consortium which includes Save the Children, Disaster Preparedness – Network (DP-Net), National Nepal Dalit Social Welfare Organisation, and five local NGOs based in the districts.
At community level, the project will be training community committees in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and supporting them to lead a consultative process to identify disaster risk, vulnerability and capacity within their own community. These assessments include the most vulnerable and marginalised people such as women, children, elderly, persons with disability and marginalised castes and ethnicities to ensure their needs are addressed. The results will then form the basis of local disaster management plans. Training will also be provided for community taskforces on First Aid, Search and Rescue, and emergency needs assessment.
At district level, the project will raise awareness of the importance of integrating disaster risk reduction into local level government development planning and budgets, and supporting civil society organisations (CSOs) to advocate on behalf of the most vulnerable and marginalised to ensure their needs are met in the reconstruction and recovery process.
At the national level, the project will advocate for disaster management policies to be enacted by government to ensure commitment and investment in disaster risk reduction. It will also support the relevant government ministry to review and revise local disaster management guidelines to be more inclusive and flexible to ensure they are relevant for all contexts in Nepal.