Nepal `lacks quake emergency response

Capital city may suffer most due to dilapidated buildings Experts warn that there will be thousands of deaths if a high magnitude earthquake like in Japan hits the country.

The capital city would be the worst hit due to its dilapidated buildings and non-quake resistant structures.
Talking to The Himalayan Times, Executive Director of National Society for Earthquake Technology Nepal, Amod Mani Dixit, said the country should have essential information on the resources, workforce, and necessary equipment, which will be useful for emergency response after an earthquake.Following a study conducted by United Nations Development Programme in 1996, the resource inventory to respond in case of emergency was prepared. “Our neighbouring countries like India, Pakistan, Bhutan have done a lot to mitigate the risk of natural disasters, but, we are still struggling,” said Dixit.

However, a recently formed body, National Emergency Operation Centre, under the Ministry of Home Affairs, to coordinate the emergency response, is working on collecting information about resources and workforce for emergency services from various government agencies, NGOs and INGOs.
Balkrishna Panthi, in-charge of the Centre, said they could not specify the capacity of
Nepal in relation to responding to emergency.

"We are preparing Standard Operating Procedure before starting the assessment of the capacity of the government and other organisations," he said. Besides, there is no sufficient law other than the 30-yearold Natural Calamity (relief ) Act 1982. A Natural Calamity Bill is included in the list of bills to be approved by the parliament, but no regulations have been drafted yet.

source: The Himalayan Times

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