Building community resilience to disaster by promoting and mainstreaming disaster risk management (DRM) and climate adaption initiatives

Globally, disasters are occurring at an alarming frequency and with increased severity in Asia. Along with climate change related crises, disasters create humanitarian and development challenges. Around the world, the number and severity of disasters has grown and Nepal is no exception. Frequent events of disasters and climate change has impacted people's lives and livelihoods and prevented millions of poor, women and children from exercising their fundamental human rights.

Nepal is exposed to a number of geo-hydro-climatic hazards by nature and additional humanitarian crisis due to the human induced emergencies that created vulnerability of its population under the risk of disaster and humanitarian crisis. Nepal is among the least developed countries in the world. Disasters, among others, are one sign of poverty in Nepal,that leads to a HDI ranking of 157 (HDR 2014). A World Bank 2005 report classifies Nepal as one of the global 'hot-spots’ for natural disasters. The study reveals its risk to disaster and climate change impact on top. Reportedly, Nepal is 11th highest risk country in terms of earthquakes, 30th in terms of floods and landslides and 4th most vulnerable to extreme weather due to climate change.

Nepal is bordered by China to the North and India to the South, East and West. Located in the Himalayas, the country is home to eight of the World’s ten tallest mountains including Mount Everest. The Himalayan or Tibetan Plateau developed through the collision between the Indian subcontinent and Eurasia. Nepal lies completely within this collision zone. The Indian plate continues to move north relative to Asia at the rate of approximately 50 mm per year. Researchers believe there is a 70-year delay between earthquakes in the region. After the devastating earthquake of 1934 in Nepal and the mega earthquake of 15th of April, 2015 and 12th of May 2015 Nepalese people assume there will be further earthquakes in the near future. In cooperation with ADRA Austria, HOPE’87 attempts to build the community resilience through responsive governance for disaster risk reduction and emergency preparedness in Nepal in post disaster scenarios.

The 2015 mega earthquakes had a major impact on Nepal. The government immediately declared a state of emergency and requested international assistance. Apart from the destruction of thousands of houses and office blocks, the water supply was also damaged to a great extent. The regular flow of water from mountain sources was disrupted. Destroyed latrines and the contamination of water sources led to a waterborne disease outbreak, e.g. in the community settlement of Kavre District. The immediate response led by ADRA Nepal in cooperation with HOPE’87 included distribution of temporary shelter kits, emergency food packs, household water filtration units, hygiene kits, mosquito nets, and school and health centre tents. In addition, the project focused on building and repairing latrines, refurbishing the drinking water supply system, providing gardening tools and fast growing seeds and kitchen garden training, along with distribution of solar lights and dignity kits for personal hygiene. A total of 150 people were on hand to assist in the project area, drawn from a pool of trained and skilled local volunteers, community-based organisations (CBOs) and self-help groups.

To foster resilience against future disasters, the project also had a school-based safety component. This included the training of teachers, parents and students on school safety and first aid. Now, children, teachers, parents and educational authorities all understand the importance of school safety and have adopted a Safe School Safety Framework to raise awareness, prepare and promote resilience in the education sector.

This project was implemented by a local organization, Nangshal Association Nepal (NAN), with the technical assistance of ADRA Nepal and partial financial support from the YOU Foundation - Education for Children in Need.