©InfoNepal is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, ranked 11th most at risk in terms of its vulnerability to earthquakes and 30th in terms of flood risks .
In particular, the highly populated Kathmandu Valley faces significant risk of a catastrophic earthquake. Out of 21 cities around the world lying in similar seismic hazard zones, Kathmandu is rated the worst, in terms of the impact an earthquake would have on the people who live there.
The people of Nepal also experience many other disasters on a much more frequent basis, including fire, flash flooding, epidemics, storm damage, water shortages and landslides.
Preparing for earthquakes
In 2012, the Nepal Red Cross began a programme to help people in the Kathmandu valley prepare better for disasters, with a focus on earthquakes.
The British Red Cross is supporting the three-year programme, which is funded by a £4 million grant from the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID).
Working with community-based groups the Red Cross will help 66 communities:
- identify local hazards and increase awareness of the risks
- provide information on how individuals, families and communities can protect themselves in the event of a disaster
- develop and implement plans so the community is ready to respond to disasters
- respond to disasters more efficiently by training first responders with skills in emergency first aid, and search and rescue.
Preparing for floods and landslides
Since 2006, the Nepal Red Cross has been working with 15 communities in Jhapa, Illam and Panchtar districts to reduce the risk of disasters. The programme, which the British Red Cross supports, trains community members in disaster management.
Teams are set up to prepare communities for disasters, such as floods and landslides. This includes training people in first aid, as well as establishing emergency funds for responding when a disaster strikes.
The communities the Red Cross works with in eastern Nepal are poor and therefore particularly vulnerable when disasters strike. The emergency funds are loaned to people who lose their means of making a living after a disaster, to help them start over.