Authorities should learn from Sunday’s disaster that laid bare country’s poor preparedness: ExpertsThe Sunday night’s devastating windstorm that battered Bara and Parsa has once again laid bare country’s zero preparedness, as more extreme and unusual events become a new normal.
The Sunday night’s devastating windstorm that battered Bara and Parsa has once again laid bare country’s zero preparedness, as more extreme and unusual events become a new normal.
After the powerful windstorm that tore through the two districts in Province 2 was completely missed by the country’s forecasting authority due to technological incapabilities, disaster management experts have pointed out the need of strong reforms and early preparedness plans to deal with future situations in a country that is highly prone to natural disasters.
Calling Sunday’s windstorm a totally unexpected incident, natural disaster management expert and ex-colonel of Nepal Army Ratindra Khatri said the event should be a lesson to stay alert and be prepared for the future.
“Storm in the Tarai belt is a common phenomenon at this time of year. However, the disaster of this intensity was not anticipated,” Khatri told the Post.
“The windstorm is an eye opener in the sense that disaster can strike any place any time. We have to plan in advance and set a course of action.”
Khatri, who has the experience of working in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, says the government together with in-line authorities should be prepared in advance for ‘unforeseen and unpredicted’ calamities.
The preparedness can be done at basic and advanced levels, according to Khatri who was deployed on UN Mission in Haiti as a chief military personnel officer of Force Headquarters and National Contingent Command of Nepali UN Peacekeeping troops in Haiti.
“The basic preparedness would be fundamental preparations that should be done irrespective of place, nature or intensity of disasters,” he said, adding that the minimum preparedness is key to overcoming unfortunate situations in the aftermath of a disaster.
Once the basic preparedness is ensured in all the communities, the authorities concerned can move ahead with specific preparation plans by assessing the disaster risks and identifying disaster prone areas.
“That would include preparations for natural calamities like flood, landslide, avalanche, earthquake, fire or like the recent windstorm as per the geological characteristics of a region,” he said.
According to the Situation Report of the Sunday night’s windstorm released by the Home Ministry on Wednesday, 28 people, including six children, have been killed and 678 others injured.
But three days since the horrific storm destroyed village settlements on its path and damaged 1,895 houses, thousands of storm survivors including pregnant women, elderly and children are struggling to face the new reality in the aftermath of the disaster.
“The current phase is still an early recovery phase. Temporary shelter should be prioritised since most of the survivors are homeless,” said Khatri.
“The central government should facilitate the local and federal units as they lack experience to deal with disasters.”
But at the ground zero, where relief materials especially food items have flooded, survivors have no option but to dwell under the open sky.
With day time temperatures rising, temporary toilets in a mess and little or no water supply, conditions are deteriorating rapidly, prompting health warnings on disease outbreaks post-disaster.
Meanwhile, chief of the National Emergency Operation Centre Bed Nidhi Khanal said they will swing into action in various clusters like hygiene, health, food and security, logistics and nutrition, among others.
“Various teams have been activated in the field. Once they submit their report as per their respective clusters, we will plan for recovery phase,” Khanal told the Post.