Monday, August 1, 2011

Disaster Preparedness in Nepal

Photo courtesy of Rob Few/ IFRC

The American Red Cross is there for people down the street, across the country, and around the world, and that’s evident in central Nepal where 30 years ago a series of violent earthquakes struck the village of Kalikahalde.   

Since 2009, the American Red Cross has been working with the Nepal Red Cross and the National Society for Earthquake Technology to establish a disaster preparedness program in 220 schools in Nepal.  More than 16,000 people have benefited. 

“I don’t feel fear of earthquakes while sleeping at night because I have kept heavy things on the floor, identified safe places at home, prepared how to go out safely in a safe place after earthquake, packed some ready-made food and safe water and learnt how to communicate,” said Janardhan K.C. of Changu Narayan in the Bhaktapur district. 

The disaster preparedness programs educate students, teachers and parents about designing and implementing disaster preparedness and response plans which details each school’s vulnerabilities, such as identifying existing cracks in walls or close proximity to a riverbank, and ways that the risks can be reduced.

“We have now learnt how a school building should be constructed and we are applying building codes in the newly constructed block for disaster safety, leaving enough space for rescue and evacuation,” said Purendra Prasad Dhakal, headmaster of Ganesh Secondary School in Nuwakot, one of the participating schools in the program.

In addition to this education, trainings in first aid, basic disaster management, and light search and rescue techniques are also being taught, as well as disaster drills and simulations to ensure that students, teachers and community members feel prepared for future disasters. 

To learn more about the efforts to prepare Nepal, click here to visit the National Red Cross Chapter.
To learn more about disaster preparedness, click here to visit your local Red Cross Chapter.

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