Earthquake Safe Communities in Nepal

International Webinar focuses on DRRM at Cities and Lessons Learnt from Responding to COVID-19

A two-day International Webinar organized by CityNet Nepal National Chapter has focused on various aspects of "Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) at Cities and Lessons Learnt from Responding to COVID-19". National Society for Earthquake Technology – Nepal (NSET), being the host of CityNet Nepal National Chapter hosted the event on Jan 27-28, 2021. There were participants from different Municipalities of Nepal including both the CityNet Member and Non-Member Municipalities, Nepali DRR professionals and also CityNet Secretariat and member cities from Makati, Seoul, Taipei, Yokohama and Iloilo.

In the Webinar, the session on first day focused on "Responding COVID-19 Locally" that incorporated COVID-19 response done in different CITYNET cities in Asia.

In the opening session, Chair of CityNet Nepal National Chapter Mr. Hari Bahadur Mahat, Hon. Mayor Hetauda Sub-Metropolitan City welcomed the presenters and participants and highlighted the program.

Mr. Geun Hyeong Yim, CEO, CityNet Secretariat, Seoul in his address highlighted CityNet efforts and wished to work together for building resilient cities in the region. Mr. Ashok Kumar Byanju (Shrestha), Hon. Mayor, Dhulikhel Municipality and President of Municipal Association of Nepal (MuAN) in his address briefed on how Nepali cities are working to improve disaster preparedness and building urban resilience.

In the technical session, there were presentations made from Makati, Philippines; Taipei, Taiwan; and Biratnagar, Nepal where each city focused on how the cities were prepared, how they responded and reduced the risks on COVID-19.

Ms. Liza Velle Ramos, Head of Research and Planning of Makati CDRRMO presented on 'COVID-19 Response made easier through Effective DRRM Operational Strategies'. Ms. Liza talked about how Makati City distributed foods, financial assistance, and medical emergencies at the city during the COVID-19 period.

Dr. Stephane Wen-Wei Ku, Director of Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Taipei City Hospital Renai Branch, City of Taipei presented on 'Keeping Local COVID-19 Transmissions to Zero'. Dr. Stephane talked about current status of COVID-19 in the city, their activation of Emergency response system, preventive measures that they took and also about the innovative ideas that they took to control the virus.

Mr. Ratnakar Jha, Liaison Officer, Biratnagar Metropolitan City presented on ‘Preparedness, Risk Reduction and Response (PR3) to COVID-19, sharing experiences and lessons learnt’. Mr. Jha focused on preparedness, the initiatives taken, challenges that they faced and also about the major challenges they faced.

The presentations were highly applauded by the participants where they learnt a lot about the different steps that were taken.

At the end of the session, Mr. Surya Narayan Shrestha, Executive Director, National Society for Earthquake Technology-Nepal (NSET), Host Organization, CityNet Nepal National Chapter summarized the proceedings and also appreciated the contribution made by presenters. The session on second day focused on 'Participatory and Inclusive Resilience Building' for promoting Proactive Municipal DRRM.

Mr. Kendra Hirata, Director of Programs, CityNet Yokohama Project Office, Japan presented ob ‘Role of CityNet for building disaster resilient cities’. Mr. Hirata shared about the risk assessments of the member cities of CityNet members and how different learning centers at different cities operate. Seminars and study visits were also conducted on sharing ideas at different cities.

Mr. Jerry Trenãs, Hon. Mayor of City of Iloilo presented on 'Award Winning DRRM Strategies'. Hon. Mayor Jerry spoke about how they Iloilo dealt with the pandemic situation, through their own community kitchens on distributing foods to the needy. Mass production of PPE's were also done to keep the responders safe from the virus.

Mr. Rishi Raj Acharya, Under Secretary, Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration (MOFAGA), Government of Nepal presented on ‘Possible strategies for proactive Municipal DRRM in Nepal’. Mr. Acharya focused on how Nepal is more prone to disaster and needs more preparation to face these disasters.

There was an Open Discussion followed by where participants from various cities shared their experiences and views on aspects of promoting proactive Municipal DRRM in Nepal. To promote the competency of cities and also to acknowledge excellence of works and practices, some ideas including systems for award has been suggested.

Summary as well closing had been done by Mr. Surya Narayan Shrestha, Executive Director, National Society for Earthquake Technology-Nepal (NSET), Host Organization, CityNet Nepal National Chapter.

The proceedings of webinar will be shared once prepared.

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