Over one hundred houses were washed away in Dang and over 500 houses were inundated by floods in Laxamanpur areas of Banke district bordering India due to the embankment built on other side of border.
When the life of tens of thousands of people was at stake due to floods, the government responded with the traditional approach, providing some relief materials and rescuing them to put in temporary settlements.
Despite the development of several methods and ways, Nepal’s approach to dealing with the floods and landslides remains decades old. Instead of working for a long term solution, the government finds it easy to work for rescue. Normally, a dozen police officers are deployed and the district level Disaster Relief Fund distributes relief materials for the victims.
The response of the prime minister is also no different. “After knowing the devastation, I have already asked concerned officials to take rescue and rehabilitation work,” prime minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai told. “Affected people should be given enough materials.”
Nepal is one of the most vulnerable countries in terms of disaster and recent studies have shown that climate related disaster will also affect a large number of people. However, Nepal’s response to disaster has not changed. Under the District Disaster Relief Committee, chief district officer normally mobilizes police, Army and local Red Cross Representatives to carry out the rescue work.
“We have been taking the disaster relief and rehabilitation work as part of the existing act,” said spokesperson of Ministry of Home Affairs. Although the intensity of disaster is going high, the response of the government has nothing changed.
“Nepal’s disaster rescue and rehabilitation work needs a revamp and there is need for more coordination among different stake holders,” said Purushottam Ghimire, spokesperson of National Planning Commission.
Along with national agencies, international agencies including INGOs and UN agencies have also been in the disaster risk reduction sector supporting disaster management. However, there is no tangible change being seen as of now.
The recent rescue and rehabilitation work conducted in three districts of western and Midwestern region showed that Nepal’s disaster response method is too little and too slow.