Monsoon emergency plan to avert casualties

By Purushottam P. Khatri

jalmagnaKathmandu, July 1: The government has implemented ‘Monsoon Emergency Work Plan-2019’ starting from this monsoon season for ensuring better preparedness, rescue, and relief works to curb possible human casualties.

This is the very first time that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) has enforced the Work Plan after collecting all details and work plans submitted by each governmental office, including the three security bodies.
Whatever level of natural calamities hit the nation, the new work plan will help reduce both physical and human damages and help undertake a prompt rescue and relief work, Indu Ghimire, joint secretary and focal person at Disaster and Conflict Management Division, said.
The work plan has made accountable to all its line ministries, security bodies and various national, international organisations, and local levels, including the Red Cross Society, for executing their respective responsibilities, Ghimire said.
As per the work plan, the major and frontline rescuer - the Nepali Army- has prepared and kept their 1,469 military personnel in standby position for their deployment from across the country.
The NA has kept five Acrow bridges provided by the US government, two riverine boats, 52 outboard motor (OBM) boats, 34 inflatable (IB) boats, and 33 rubber boats in its pre-positioning condition for this monsoon season.
Acrow Bridge is designed with prefabricated modular steel bridge components, which can be easily customised to the desired length, width, and strength, allowing for diverse applications and uses.
The NA has also kept its air services in ready position in Itahari, Kathmandu and Surkhet for conducting any type of air rescue operation, and 104 military forces (equivalent to strength of a company) of the NA in ready position for the monsoon.
Similarly, the Nepal Police has kept its 80 forces in standby position in Karnali State, 155 forces in States 2, 3, Gandaki, 5 and Sudur Paschim and 205 in State 1.
Additionally, the Police Headquarters has its additional 260 human resources and 100 from the Metropolitan Police Office, Ranipokhari, in ready position for the monsoon.
Nepal Police have 18 heavy equipment that can be mobilised in case of any emergency in States 1, 2, 3 Gandaki State and 5, and have no single equipment in Karnali and Sudur Paschim (Surkhet and Dhangadi).
Nepal Police has also its nine rubber boats in standby position across the country.
Meanwhile, the Armed Police Force (APF) has prepared 1,420 skilled natural disaster trained human resources in ready position and platoon level strength of rescuers in all seven States and has deployed all these rescuers in 10 different places of the country, according to the monsoon emergency work plan of the APF.
The APF has kept additional over 900 trained disaster rescuers in ready position in Central and States levels. Also, the APF has its special 56 human resources only for conducting search and rescue in case of collapsed structures, 24 firefighting equipment, 16 rappelling climbing equipment, 25 deep diving equipment, nine inflatable boats with outboard motors, 22 rescue rafts, and 13 heavy equipment.

As per its work plan, the Ministry has decided to keep the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) at the central (federal level), State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC), District Emergency Operation Centre (DEOC), Local Emergency Operation Centre (LEOC), in alert phase throughout the monsoon period.
Likewise, Nepal Red Cross Society and other International Organisations like Plan International Nepal, UNICEF, Save the Children, World Vision International, Action Aid Nepal, Care Nepal, Mercy Corp Nepal, Dan Church Aid (DCA), and United Mission to Nepal have also prepared their shelter clusters’ emergency stockpiles and resource mapping for the monsoon emergency work plan-2019.
The NRCS has set up emergency fund of Rs. 30 million for 87,500 individuals of 17,500 households covering 77 districts.
Except for the NRCS, rest of the nine other international organisations have set up an emergency fund of Rs. 50.25 million for 29,017 households of 145,085 individuals.
According to Bedh Nidhi Khanal, under-secretary and focal person at the national emergency operation centre, more than 80 per cent of the total population of Nepal is at risk of natural hazards, such as floods, landslides, windstorms, hailstorms, fire, earthquake, and Glacial Lake outburst Floods (GLOFs).
The available facts put Nepal among the 20 most disaster prone countries in the world.
A review of disaster data of the last 45 years indicated that the incidences of disasters are growing every year in Nepal.
The available information system on disaster captures the human impacts of disaster, economic losses, and environmental damages and showed that disasters erode about two per cent of the national GDP annually.  

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