Disaster preparedness and
resiliency: Nepal

NEPAL: AT A GLANCE

Population: 30,056,790

Major Threats: Flood, Earthquake, Drought and Lightening/thunderstorm

Populations Affected: Farmers, Rural poor, Indigenous people, Women & Children

Locations Affected: Kathmandu, Sindhupalchowk, Gorkha, and the Southern plains

Industries Affected: Agriculture, Tourism 

Compounding Issues: Livelihood, climate change, environmental degradation, WASH

World Risk Index Ranking: 4.92

Global Climate Risk Index: 9

Demographically, Nepal is located between India and China; roughly 75 percent of the country is covered by mountains. As a result of this made Nepal a vulnerable state that exposure to natural disasters. Over the last decade, Nepal has experienced several disasters that struck the country and killed almost 9,000 people due to earthquakes and floods.

 

In recent years, many countries, including China, India, United Kingdom, United States, and Japan, have assisted Nepal. Even though their agriculture depends on the monsoon rain cycle between July up to September, Nepal experienced numerous landslides and floods that damaged community houses due to heavy rain that occurs. Prevention and mitigation have been socialized by the government and international agencies to reduced losses.

Economic assistance by countries around the globe shows that Nepal is one of the vulnerable nations in the world. They are economic highly dependent on the import of necessary materials for its agriculture products, such as fertilizers. The living situation in rural areas become more exposed to women and children to disasters as the men in the family went abroad for work. Therefore they must depend on small-scale agriculture and limited access to other livelihood options.

Many hazards caused by climate change, including landslides and floods, have caused damage, loss of lives, livelihoods, and poverty. This is happening due to Nepal’s economy are dependent on climate activities, namely agriculture, as the primary cultivation of rice and corn (maize) and forestry.

 

To increase the cultivation land area by cutting standing forest caused soil erosion and results in reduced yields and land losses by a landslide.

As mentioned earlier, men leaving their families for work aboard have brought women into a hazard situation. They are trapped in a living condition with no options. Lack of economic resources, limited access due to their status. Seemingly their burden becomes more complicated in the time of the disaster; loss of livelihoods results in increasing poverty.

  • Landslide and Flood 

    Disasters caused by heavy rains are frequent in Nepal,  the country with mountainous topography and rivers. Thousands of people have been displaced and pushed peoples to leave their homes. The condition sometimes is worsening by the landslides that occurs along with floods caused by the loss of lives,  crops, and others. 

  • Earthquake 

    The earthquake struck near the city of Kathmandu in Nepal on April 25, 2015. Almost 9,000 people were killed, and thousands were injured. The quake that occured in 2015 is confirmed as the second-largest earthquake since 1934 that shocks Nepal and destroyed buildings in Kathmandu valley. China and Bangladesh also felt the shocks. Followed by an earthquake that occurred in May, 2015. 

  • Drought 

    Most families in the Himalayan have left in recent years due to the land has gone dry. Climate change in Nepal has forcing people to leave their homes due to lack of water resources and lack of food, as we all know, most Nepalese depends on their lives on agriculture. It has never been natural farming in the mountains, and yet climate change is making it even more difficult. 

  • Lightening & thunderstorm 

    Recent years, Nepal has experienced an increased lightening and thunders that also killed dozens of people.  

Overall, due the recent disaster, more than 274 killed, 70 missing and 330 injured in the past 4 months and 223 are due to landslides and flood while over 50 are due to lightening/thunder. 

Collaboration between the government and the international agency is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. In terms of water availability, this impacts the farmer's ability to plan. Local government should know where hazards exist. An approach where the government and the civil society organizations can work together to addressing climate change adaptation in Nepal.  

 

Nepal has developed policy regarding adaptation policy called the National Adaptation Programs of Action to climate change (NAPA). Some of the strategies are being implemented as a community-based adaptation plan regarding vulnerable communities that are lack of capacity to cope with disasters. 

As a landlocked country, Nepal is exposed to several disasters, while the high areas experienced with drought the low-lying area struggles from flood and landslide every year. Earthquake is another primary focus. It is what makes Nepal vulnerable to many hazards. Donors might have opportunities to reduce the impact and raise community awareness, including agriculture and forestry, livelihood, communication, CMDRR, advocacy, education, WASH. 

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