IMPENDING DISASTERS IN NEPAL Shift paradigm for enhancing resilience
Global understanding of disaster has been striding into the paradigm shift from response to relief to disaster risk reduction as every year more than 200 million people live under the impact of various types of disaster events; precisely, disasters are those events which strike over the normalcy of life. Although Nepal has increasingly surpassed the rest of the world in disaster vulnerability, lackadaisical planning has marred the catastrophic response with reference to manpower, money and machines, leading in the greater claim in very events either natural or human induced. Exposure to such events has now shifted to glocal panorama; participating from global warming to haphazard settlement growth, over-claiming the natural resources, squabbling infrastructure built-ups among others. Traumatic experiences of past events have still beseeched the planners, often guided with the response and relief framework formulation; could switch the paradigm shift towards disaster risk reduction. To the surprise of many disaster managers, this contingency planning is densely forbidding; highlighting the strategy of post disaster response and shadowing the pre-disaster initiatives before the impending catastrophes jolt entire nation exceeding our capabilities. Mushroomed growth of population, rapid and haphazard urbanization, alarming environmental degradation, global warming, overexploitation of natural resources and poor strategy of coping have even triggered the vulnerability and susceptibility of disaster events in Nepal, worsening the infrastructures and livelihood.
Misconception and Hysteria
Popular dilemma amongst the disaster stakeholders is pretty surprising for our context; earthquake is solely overshadowing as the disaster event, although the disaster event records from 1971-2005 highlight the most fatal disaster in Nepal is the epidemics. Disaster events along with the commingling events would invest more in human casualties, property and heritage damage, epidemic outbreak, and such arduous situation might overturn the entire national economy into response, relief and rehabilitation works. Had the government planned the disaster
risk reduction strategy, such plans would size down the woes of people in vulnerable areas to the disasters. Furnishing the hysteria of hazard, overemphasizing the poorly understood panorama of various disasters are readily switched to people through various medium, though these are detrimental towards public feeling and moral, still being evoked from technocrats in greater esteem. Noticeably, there’s popular dilemma amongst the disaster professionals, whether to regard the events induced from anthropogenic activities as “Man Made” or “Human Induced” the latter has greater acquaintance with the sole of disasters, as the invitation of disasters is either due to unawareness or even through unintentional conducts as well. Possibly, the most discussed business in recent dates is earthquake; though fragile geology, annual torrential precipitation, global climate change, seasonal epidemics, etc. have triggered the disaster events and vicious outbreaks largely. Even if, major earthquakes in Nepal have the return period of around 75 periods, ergo, emphasizing integrated disaster risk management policies and executing such could be demonstrative. Showing their inferior acquaintance with the hazard, some heedless disaster experts are hypnotizing over prosaic lifestyles, thereby keeping livelihood under psychological threat, though ranging from local coping mechanism to early warning systems, there are several ways to escape and overcome many events. As disaster risk reduction hinges most of the time into keeping moral high, known should furnish the high moral rather than flourishing hysteria.
Disaster Policy and the Women, Poor and the Excluded (WPE)
Inclusive policies are uncritically accepted in Nepal, though disaster policies nevertheless introduce women, poor, and the excluded walks; as the disasters are catastrophic towards these groups. Of late, the deluge of participatory and inclusive aspects of development framework are practiced however; whatsoever be the social dynamics, disaster risk reduction yet sounds low for the marginalized WPE group of communities. Poor livelihood practices, exacerbated living standard, inappropriate and inferior approach over the amenities have even led disgraceful set up in most areas of low economic living. Keeping safe a fraction of population doesn’t assure the vulnerability to any denizens, marginalized or even backward folks. Participatory policies and planning are must for WPE as the exposure to disasters is in greater than any other people. Hitherto practice of disaster coping policy is based upon top-down-approach; people scarcely participate over their needs and shifting paradigm as a bottom-up-approach including vulnerable people and their voices and experience as well could enhance the resilience in local, regional, and in the national level intensely.