Disaster incidents are on the rise in the countryDisaster incidents are on the rise in various parts of the country, claiming hundreds of lives and destroying properties worth of billions of rupees every year.
Chandan Kumar Mandal
Disaster incidents are on the rise in various parts of the country, claiming hundreds of lives and destroying properties worth of billions of rupees every year.
According to the National Emergency Operation Centre statistics, the number of disasters—natural and manmade—has seen a significant rise nationwide in the last three years nationwide.
As per the centre’s data, a total of 2,555 various catastrophic incidents were recorded in the country between April 13, 2016 and April 12, 2017. In that period, 482 people lost their lives, 49 went missing, 841 were injured and property loss amounted to over Rs2.93 billion.
The following year from April 13, 2017 to April 13, 2018, the number of incidents rose to 2,850 that was an 11.5 percent increase in big and small scale disasters. In that period, the devastating flood that ravaged various districts of Southern plains killed over 150 people and the toll from all types of disasters was recorded at 597, a surge of over 23 percent from the previous year.
However, the whopping upsurge in the number of similar tragedies was recorded last year. In the period between March April 14, 2018 and April 13, 2019, the number of disaster incidents in the country shot up by over 50 percent to 4,280, which killed 455 people in various parts of the country.
“If we look at the recorded incidents, it definitely shows that the country is witnessing more catastrophic events in the recent years,” Bed Nidhi Khanal, chief of the National Emergency Operation Centre told the Post. “There can be many natural and manmade factors behind this unprecedented rise. Whatever the reason, the growth is significant and worrisome.”
According to Khanal, the upsurge in the recorded number of disaster incidents can also be attributed to improved and immediate reporting of such events from around the country with better communication technology.
Last year, landslides killed 88 people in the country and thunderstorm, one of the major natural disasters in terms of casualties, claimed 68 lives.
However, the deadliest disaster for the year was the windstorm of March 31 that wreaked havoc on various parts of two districts—Bara and Parsa—of Province 2, killing at least 28 persons and rendering thousands of people homeless.
Windstorm last year claimed 45 lives, including those who died in last month’s windstorm which the weather office says was the first tornado recorded in the country.
Another major disaster for the country—flood—especially during monsoon seasons in the southern districts, however, was not as deadly as in previous years. Seventeen people died in the floods.
Fire incidents were the top killer for the country in the last year when 2,771 such events were reported, killing 89 people and gutting property worth over Rs4.05 billions out of total Rs4.41 billion of property damage in the year, which also tops the highest property damage in the last three years.
In the last three years, the number of fire incidents has also gone up from 1,668 to 1,763 and then 2,771 in the last year.
“Most of the fire incidents reported are due to the negligence of the people. Electric short-circuit fire, LPG cylinder blasts, explosions of solar panel batteries and children playing with fire sources, among others, are the causes of disasters related to fire,” said Khanal. “Basic awareness like regularly checking wiring system at home, keeping fire sources away from children and installing lighting arresters at home can minimise fire incidents.”
A seven year data of the centre shows that a total of 12,687 people have been killed in various disasters, including the 2015 earthquake that alone claimed nearly 9,000 lives and injured thousands.
“Impacts of climate change and other extreme events are vivid and responsible for the surge in disaster incidents,” said Khanal. “However, the number of deaths has gone down despite the rise in disaster incidents. This shows we have been successful to some extent in terms of awareness, early response and early preparedness,” he added. “But we are yet to do significant work in risk reduction sector.”