Nepal’s National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Authority (NDRRMA) was established through the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Act of 2017 to coordinate and implement DRRM-related functions in the country.
Supporting inclusive risk assessment
The first example I would like to share is the BIPAD portal – an integrated and comprehensive disaster information management system that facilitates disaster communication and post-disaster event coordination in the country.
Through this national platform, we organize dialogs to find solutions to address the scarcity of data. We’ve gathered much data on housing exposure, even at a household level, for close to two dozen municipalities in the country.
This work has also been supported by Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC). Close to 20,000 houses have been mapped down to the household level. Details include types of walls and roofs and whether houses are vulnerable to strong winds, earthquakes, or flooding.
Developing Audio-Based Early-Warning Solutions
The second example I want to share is on early-warning systems, where we engaged with the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM), the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (MoWRI), and the Ministry of Forest and Environment (MoFE) to disseminate information down to household level.
In some unserved areas in the country, we noted that most residents don’t have access to smartphones, especially farmers and cattle herders, and it was quite difficult to reach out to them. Therefore, we developed an audio system that runs on solar power and electricity and dispatched them to over 40 locations nationwide.
This system runs from NDRRMA, army offices, provincial, district, and local emergency operation centers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these systems were used for local awareness and information, and more recently, it was used to warn communities of wildfires. We can use multiple languages that the residents and ward officials themselves can decide.
We can interact with the private sector to work together on new innovations and find solutions to climate change impacts and disaster risks.
Lessons from Nepal’s Business Landscape
A third example I want to share is Nepal’s growing production of hydroelectricity. After a tile-producing factory reached out to us to ask how they could make their business more disaster-resilient, we suggested that he install a new water pump system that could manage the factory’s water needs and be used to extinguish fires.
The factory also now uses a mix of wind and hydroelectric power instead of a mix of coal and diesel power with backups. These companies serve as role models for other companies to follow, and it’s a classic example of resilient technologies and investments.
Investing in disaster preparedness, in my opinion, can be more effective than investing in corporate social responsibility, as seen in these initiatives where Nepal works closely with the private sector.