Ajaya Dixit, Executive Director, Institute for Social and Environmental Transition (ISET)-Nepal has said the community resilience depends highly on the disaster-affected community’s accessibility to resources that help them mitigate the adverse shocks and their impacts. Adding to that, he said, when an already vulnerable community becomes exposed to the hazards such as earthquakes or floods, then getting back to feet is harder.
The natural system, such as forest, vegetation, etc can revert back to their pre-damaged status on their own but human-built system such as infrastructure cannot, that is where resilience of the community matters, he said.
Presenting his paper on Disaster Preparedness and Community Resilience in Nepal, Dixit explained the theoretical approach with experiences of Nepal in various major disasters.
Organized by SAWTEE under the project Initiating Dialogue on Post Disaster Reconstruction Experience, undertaken with support from The Asia Foundation (TAF), the forum heard the experts stressing that community resilience could only be achieved through collective efforts.
This is the the sixth discussion forum on ‘Unpacking and operationalizing resilience’.
Similarly, Basanta Raj Gautam, former Chief District Officer of Kathmandu, said that communities are overburdened with disaster preparedness but they lack funds, at the same time, communities do not have access to related information, which is essential to build a resilient community.
Dr.PremNathMaskey, an earthquake expert, pointed out that Nepal adopts crisis management only but hardly prepares for disasters during normal times. Similarly, Dr.Amod Mani Dixit, Executive Director, National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET), pointed out that the narrative of resilience in Nepal has never been able to include insurance service which is of utmost importance.
The chief guest of the program, Narayan GopalMalegu, Former Secretary, Government of Nepal, said the recent act on disaster management, provisions for multi-tiered structural management of disasters —from community level to central level -- should effectively address the hazards related to disasters. He emphasized on the role of government as well as individuals in facing the challenges.
Giving his remarks as the chair of the programme Prof. Dr. PramodBahadurShrestha, Former Professor of Institute of Engineering, said community resilience is much higher than the sum of individual resilience. Further emphasizing on resilience, he said that though resilience and sustainability are not synonymous, there is a link between them. Resilience has also been emphasized on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).The reason that world has shifted from Millennium Development Goals to SDGs is to include multidimensional aspects with the focus not only on economics but social and environmental aspects also.
Some 30 participants from various organizations, including research institutions, experts, activists and development partners, participated in the event.
SAWTEE has undertaken similar discussion forums related to post-disaster reconstruction under themes such as “Nepal Post Disaster Reconstruction Experience: Current Status and Lessons learnt”, “Migration and Labour Dynamics in Post Disaster Nepal”,“Expenditure Analysis and Tracking of Post-Earthquake reconstruction programmes” and “Rebuilding Safer Urban Spaces” and “Post-Disaster Conflict Resolution Mechanism.”