BANEPA, March 10: As disasters occur unexpectedly, stakeholders have often underscored the need for effective preparedness for disasters. The devastating earthquake of 2015 had led bare the country's unpreparedness to cope with such looming threats. Not just earthquakes, the country is also prone to floods, inferno and landslides.
In view of the possibility of both natural and man-made disasters, Panauti Municipality has developed a disaster risk management plan to mitigate the impacts of such disasters through preparedness, which the municipality hopes would serve as a role model.
“Disasters cannot be averted but at least we can minimize the damages and casualties from them,” said Senior Administrative Officer Indra Prasad Adhikari of the municipality. “Based on that concept, we have developed the model plan, which would be immediately implemented as soon as the upcoming municipal meeting approves it.”
The municipality has identified potential disasters that they could face, including earthquakes, landslides, floods, fire and attacks from wild animals. Likewise, they have categorized strong winds, thunder, cold waves among others in the secondary category due to their lesser impacts.
After identification, the municipality will work to formulate responses to the disasters, such as constructing shelters and infrastructures among others.
“We have prepared the list of disasters as per the seasons. Based on it, we have identified various activities to improve the response and minimize casualties for each type of disaster,” added Adhikari.
A 13-member committee under the leadership of municipal chief Bhim Neupane has been formed as per the national strategy for disaster risk management. The committee has established six emergency stockpile storages in various areas of the municipality. Each of the emergency stockpile has been designed to be sufficient for two wards.
The emergency stockpiles include necessities such as helmets, ropes, stretchers, water purifiers and medicines, according to Adhikari. “The stockpiles are worth around Rs 400,000. We have also kept the cost of stocks so it would be easy for us to replace them with new ones if needed,” he added.
According to the municipality office, they organized various disaster preparedness activities, such as training, awareness campaigns, and drills among others throughout the year. They are expected to repeat such activities this year as well.