Earthquake Safe Communities in Nepal

PEER Nepal Progress Review Meeting held

National Society for Earthquake Technology-Nepal (NSET) organized the Program for Enhancement of Emergency Response (PEER) Nepal Progress Review Meeting on May 6, 2018, at Kurintar, Chitwan, Nepal. The PEER Progress Review Meeting highlighted the program’s achievements, challenges and way forward in Nepal.

Senior officials from PEER partner organizations in Nepal attended this meeting, namely, from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) – Government of Nepal, Nepalese Army, Nepal Police and Nepal Armed Police Force. Senior representatives from USAID/OFDA and NSET facilitated the meeting discussions.

Mr. Ganesh Kumar Jimee, Director of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response (DPER) Division of NSET, and Lead Trainer, PEER, presented NSET’s experience on PEER Stage 4 (2014-2019) implementation. In addition to discussing PEER accomplishments in Nepal, Mr. Jimee underscored the need for continuous assessment of Nepal’s needs for emergency response, as per the current government structure (federal system); initiating a Swift Water Rescue (SWR) at the national level; developing national/local emergency response volunteers and strengthening of networking; prepositioning emergency response equipment in strategic locations of different levels; and engagement of private organizations and the civil society in the Government’s development efforts.

Mr. Dustin Shiau, representing USAID/OFDA, appreciated the Government of Nepal’s acknowledgment of PEER’s role in building the foundation for instructors’, responders’, and community volunteers’ trainings; and strengthened the capacities of hospitals in Nepal. With this PEER program outcomes and impact, he put forward the present challenge that we, including the program, beneficiary countries, program partners, donors, are all in a crossroad and we all need to develop a strategy, where USAID/OFDA would like to see PEER countries take more lead in the program.

Mr. Surya Narayan Shrestha, Executive Director of NSET, reiterated NSET and PEER Nepal’s strategic plan in emergency response capacity building, taking from the PEER experience in Nepal. Briefly, Mr. Shrestha described the need for initial response should go to the local level then to the professional level of response. Simple as it may sound, the proposed strategy should entail a logical projection of the numbers of trained volunteers, professional responders, instructors, and also equipment cost from the local to the national levels.

During the enriching discussions, the Ministry of Home Affairs-Government of Nepal, through the representation of respected Mr. Kedar Neupane, Joint Secretary, has highly encouraged the PEER partner organizations and funding organization present in the meeting, to continuously work with the Government of Nepal in cultivating the foundation from PEER and the already existing national capacities, including government partnership with NGOs, private organizations, and the invaluable support from donors. Taking all these forward, it’s noteworthy that MoHA is initiating a separate senior level meeting to follow-up on the national strategy for emergency preparedness and response capacity building discussed in this forum. MoHA extended the invitation to all PEER partner organizations present in the forum, including NSET to participate in the planned meeting in the near future.

Dr. Amod Mani Dixit, General Secretary of NSET and Chief of Party, PEER in his closing message, assured NSET’s commitment to continue the processes started in PEER, a foundation that built up an effective training system. He also added that NSET, capitalizing on its rich experience in earthquake risk reduction and DRR; and network with professionals, shall contribute to the Government’s vision to establish a resource hub for DRR, including emergency preparedness and response, in Nepal and in the region.

PEER is a regional program funded by the United States Agency for International Development/Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) and implemented by NSET since 2003.

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