Disaster Resilient Communities in Nepal by 2050

26th National Symposium on ‘Earthquake Risk Reduction and Management in Nepal’ held in Kathmandu.

Experts and professionals have emphasized the need for more collaborative efforts in disaster risk reduction and management initiatives to address challenges posed by various phenomena such as pandemics, climate change, and recurring earthquakes in Nepal. They shared their insights at the National Symposium on "Earthquake Risk Reduction and Management in Nepal," organized in Kathmandu on February 1, 2024, in observance of the 26th Earthquake Safety Day (ESD). 

The National Symposium is a regular program as a part of the annual ESD which Nepal observes every year on 15 or 16 January and around commemorating the Great Nepal-Bihar Earthquake of 1934. National Symposium is a sharing and learning forum for the DRR stakeholders to review the DRR efforts of past year and discourse and explore the way forward in Earthquake Risk Management.

Addressing the Opening Ceremony, Mr. Anil Pokhrel, Chief Executive of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority (NDRRMA), stated that Nepal experienced two major earthquakes this year: Bajhang and Jajarkot, as well as earthquakes in Bajura and Doti last year. These earthquakes are not the end but merely a preview, and NDRRMA, along with the entire political leadership, is committed to determining how to respond to such disasters. He remarked, “after accomplishing initial response-related activities, our focus is on the reconstruction of buildings damaged by earthquakes, particularly the Jajarkot earthquake. Consequently, a task force meeting was held on Wednesday to discuss the 'Disaster-Affected Private Housing Reconstruction, Reconstruction, and Rehabilitation Grant Procedure, 2080,' with the aim of making housing grants available for affected individuals and providing housing assistance to those impacted by earthquakes in Jajarkot, Bajhang, Doti, and other areas. This guideline will come into effect soon after approval from the cabinet”.

The chair of the program, Mr. Ghanashyam Giri, Mayor of Chandragiri Municipality, expressed his sincere thanks for the opportunity to host the national meeting of the 26th Earthquake Safety Day Program in Chandragiri Municipality. Highlighting traditional earthquake-resistant construction practices in the Kathmandu Valley, he emphasized the need for earthquake-resistant construction technology in modern construction practices to build a resilient city. "In the past, traditional earthquake-resistant construction practices were prevalent in Nepal. Buildings constructed using such technologies withstood a series of significant earthquakes, and some of these structures still stand today. However, with the introduction of modern technologies, we seem to have forgotten these practices. I urge everyone to revisit and adopt earthquake-resistant technology in construction practices," Mayor Giri stated.

Speaking at the program, Mr. Bharat Mani Pandey, Joint Secretary at NDRRMA, shared NDRRMA’s initiatives in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in Nepal. He mentioned, “NDRRMA has been working diligently to extend efforts of DRRM activities to the provincial and local levels. The role played by local and provincial governments in earthquake response, rescue, relief activities, and the construction of temporary shelters in the aftermath of the Jajarkot Earthquake certainly proves this point.”

Ms. Monika Jha, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Mine and Geology, stated that Nepal is situated in a seismic risk zone, and this is unavoidable. She emphasized, "Since earthquakes cannot be predicted, we have no alternative but to live with them. Therefore, it is imperative to conduct thorough research on earthquake risk in Nepal, identify areas with the highest seismic risks, construct safer buildings, raise awareness about earthquake risks, and implement preparedness measures for the general population, including school children. It is crucial to carry out earthquake preparedness and planning before an earthquake occurs."

In the beginning, Dr. Amod Mani Dixit, President of NSET, highlighted the objectives of the National Symposium and welcomed the participants to the program. He stated, 'The symposium aims to bring together DRR stakeholders in Nepal on a single platform to discuss and share efforts related to DRRM in Nepal over the past years. We aim to evaluate successes and gaps, express our commitment to continuing these efforts in the future, while keeping international legal frameworks and policy guidelines in mind.'

 In the Symposium this year, total three thematic sessions organized:

1. Jajarkot Earthquake Response and Relief,
2. Studies on Earthquake Damage and Impacts, and
3. Earthquake Recovery and Reconstruction.

The DUDBC and NSET in association with various government and non-governmental organizations organized this year’s symposium. About 170 people representing different DRR stakeholders, professionals, teachers and students participated the National Symposium 2024. 


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