KATHMANDU, May 27: The representatives from government and different foreign aid agencies have committed to working together on better emergency preparedness during crises in Nepal.
Observing the Humanitarian Staging Area (HSA) at Tinkune, Kathmandu on Thursday, they discussed how the humanitarian community can work together to prepare in emergency periods.
The representatives from the government, United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID), United Nations Resident Coordinator (UNRC) and the World Food Programme (WFP) on Friday stressed the need for setting up similar HSAs in different strategic locations across the country for better response during emergencies.
HSA will act as the main hub for airlifted and overland humanitarian assistance entering the Kathmandu Valley in case of an emergency.
Kedar Neupane, joint-secretary of Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), said that coordination between the National Emergency Operation Center, World Food Program (WFP) and other agencies was excellent during the earthquake emergency.
“It allowed us to handle, store and dispatch humanitarian relief such as tarpaulins, blankets, food and medication to the earthquake-affected areas in a very efficient manner,” said Neupane. “As Nepal is prone to disasters, the Government of Nepal is committed to working with stakeholders on developing a sustainable emergency and preparedness model.”
WFP officials informed that over 88,800 cubic meters of humanitarian relief cargo including food, medication, emergency shelters and sanitation equipment was handled on behalf of 164 agencies at the HSA at Tinkune after the 2015 earthquakes.
“Meeting here at the HSA with our partners and stakeholders, we see the concrete evidence of how we can do better when we all work together. There's no doubt that a collaborative approach is best for the people we serve - and in an emergency it can save lives. The next step now is to find a sustainable way forward to keep the HSA going and to expand this model,” said Pippa Bradford, WFP Representative and country director.
Officials also said that WFP aims to create a collaborative partnership where Nepal, donors and the humanitarian community work together to strengthen Nepal's preparedness.
It will act as the main hub for airlifted and overland humanitarian assistance entering the Kathmandu Valley in case of an emergency.
The Humanitarian Staging Area also has the potential to serve as a hub for predictable rapid-onset seasonal disasters such as flooding that occur annually.