RUPANDEHI, April 9: Recently, the Meteorological Forecasting Division predicted that the southern plains of the country might witness a windstorm once more over the next few days. This is giving sleepless nights to the victims of the country's first recorded tornado. Even though the Province 5 government has expedited preparations to avoid further damages due to disasters, the local governments are yet to take any safety measure.
Province 5 Ministry of Internal Affairs recently expedited the process for the distribution of relief. It has also formed a 'Provincial Information Center'(PIC) to make the citizens aware of disasters. Sadly, the center is yet to collect complete information for dissemination.
Two weeks ago, the ministry had sent a mail to the District Disaster Management and Feedback (DDMF) asking about the details of places at risk of disasters and the kind of relief materials required there. According to Buddha Prakash Paudel, chief as well as the information officer of PIC, DDMF is yet to reply to the mail sent by the ministry.
As six districts of Province 5 fall under the hill belt and six in Tarai, the province has the risk of flood, inundation, landslide, windstorm, lightening among others. Some local units even lack a fire engine which plays a pivotal role in avoiding fire-induced damages.
Even now the local governments have not formed any policies and laws for disaster management nor have they prepared for the relief distribution, says disaster expert Dharmaraj Ghimire. "Lack of coordination among the three tiers of government is the reason why relief materials flood a particular area while they are nowhere to be seen in other areas," said Ghimire.
According to him, if the provincial and local governments still do not pay much heed to find measures to manage disasters, they may have to pay a heavy price. The tornado of March 31 and its perilous impact have compelled the Internal Affairs Ministry to forward the procedure for purchasing 60 different types of equipment for the rescue job.
The ministry' Secretary Keshavraj Acharya informed Republica that equipment will be bought by mid-May. Province 5 currently has Rs 60 million in the disaster management fund. In addition to that, the province is also planning to establish a storage center for the victims.
According to a work plan, the relief will be distributed to the victims falling under various categories.