“NTC Can Help Send Floods Warning Messages” Gehendra Gurung

GEHENDRA GURUNG, head of the program on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change of Practical Action-Nepal, spoke to NEW SPOTLIGHT on the disaster prevention. Excerpts:

Aug. 1, 2016, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol 10, No.1,July 29,2016,(Shrawn,14,2073)

How do you see the effectiveness of early warning system?

First of all, the community needs training about safe places. The persons who go for rescue need to be protected. Nepal Armed Police, Nepal Police and community members have been working in Bardia, Banke and Jhapa with life jackets.

How about outside experiences?

Practical Action has also been launching this kind of program in Bangladesh. As the government is leading in the high tech sectors, we focus on communities. We train the community people how to prepare for times of disaster. We are focusing on community and transferring our knowledge on effective mobilization of information.

What about your program on early warning?

We are piloting a program and the government is taking it up. We are active now in Karnali and Kankai River.  Except Mahakali River, we cover most of the rivers in western Nepal.

Where did Practical Action launch the early warning program?

First we started the early warning system in Jugedi of Chitwan. After successful experiences in Chitwan, we moved to Karnali area, including Bardia.

Don’t you think the time has come to introduce new technology?

Till now our early warning system is confined to downstream or plain areas. We are now working in the river sources. Mid mountain rivers need to be monitored at the top. The process has already been established effectively but there is the need to go upstream.

Have you started the upstream monitoring?

We are monitoring the rivers upstream, so that we can warn the people living in the downstream areas. There is the need to monitor the river from monitors so it will be effective. We are using the radar to monitor the Seti River. We need to monitor the river from radar and other equipments. It should not be based on community only but it needs to extend up to district headhunters.

How can government help to disseminate the information of floods on a timely manner?

The government can support the community by providing free recharge of sim cards. NTC can send the information through its message. At a time when the NTC has been disseminating the information on Bagmati Clean campaign every week, they can do it in flood affected areas. This will save the life of people and make the early warning system more effective.

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