Volunteers For Emergencies

Nepal is located in a seismic zone. Beneath it Indian and Eurasian plates constantly clash, triggering big and small tremors round the year. Experts note that Nepal’s Himalayas are divided into five tectonic zones from north to south and, east to west and almost parallel to sub-parallel. In 2015, Gorkha Earthquake suddenly shook the country devastating scores of hill districts. It killed more than 9,000 people and injured over 22,000. Besides, houses and physical infrastructures worth billions of rupees were destroyed in seconds during the earthquake. The temblor itself does not kill people. It is material structures and objects that hit or bury persons during the quake. It strikes us suddenly, leaving behind the trail of death and destruction. Scientists have not yet developed knowledge as to when or how the earthquake shakes us so the people are vulnerable to the calamity. Therefore, it is wise to take safety measures in advance to save life and property in the earthquake. Kathmandu Valley lacks enough space and shelter to cope with the post-quake situation. Deep into the city one confronts death trap as congested tall houses do not have exit ways and public ground. The haphazardly built structures amplify the death toll and worsen the plight of the injured during the quake.

Against this backdrop, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has come up with innovative idea to address the emergency situation caused by the natural calamities, including the earthquake. It has prepared the community-based volunteers who offer help to the people when their life is threatened by the disasters. The KMC has unveiled the scheme based on the motto ‘in case of any disaster, the local community is always the first responder.’ It seeks to produce 1,280 skilled community-based volunteers. The concept came to tackle earthquake of the same magnitude that rattled the valley in 2015. Each ward is supposed to generate 40 volunteers with a seven-day extensive training on rescue and fire-fighting. They will be equipped with the personal safety materials to extinguish fires immediately after a home or workplace catches fire. KMC officials rightly said that volunteers were essential partners in emergency preparedness and recovery. “Safety of the citizens is our first responsibility. Hence, we will soon start the training once we get the names of volunteers from all ward offices,” said KMC spokesperson Ishwor Man Dangol. The KMC has set up the Metropolitan Emergency Response Operation Centre and it aims at encouraging the participation of all residents in making the community safer. They will be provided necessary tool and training to deal with the disaster. Indeed, this offers opportunity to the local people to show their spirit of volunteerism and contribute to the humanitarian mission. The KMC deserves appreciation for the timely concept to tackle the emergency circumstances. While this plan boosts the relations between the people and elected representatives, it provides them a sense of belonging in the community. Such collaboration will enable the people not only to manage the crisis caused by natural disasters but also socio-economic problems they face in their daily life.

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