Krishna Basaula

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Posts by Krishna

  • Authorities join local communities on mock flood exercises in Nepal

    June 13th, 2018

    USAID/OFDA funded project, implemented by Practical Action and Nepal Red Cross, joined hands with government agencies and communities to organise mock flood exercises in Kankai and Kamala River basins in Jhapa, Siraha and Dhanusha districts marking World Environment Day on 5 June 2018.

    Mass SMS from DHM

    It was organised in coordination and collaboration with the government’s Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, National Emergency Operation Centre, respective District Disaster Management Committees (DDMCs) and local governments together with DRR actors to help the communities. A total of 41 communities (26 in Kamala and 15 in Kankai River basins) participated in the drills simultaneously from 8:00 am in the morning for over next two hours.

    This covers 10 local governments, 7 municipalities and 3 rural municipalities where over 50,000 people are vulnerable to flooding at different level risks. The massive exercises, directly involved more than 5,261 women and 4,287 men as volunteers, 778 task force members, 265 disaster management committee members and 10 project staffs. The exercises were organised to test the systems and mechanisms of disaster prevention building on the early warning systems set up by the project in coordination and collaboration with the agencies, communities and organisations at local level.

    The project has tested the capacity of risk forecasting, monitoring and communication systems of end to end flood early warning system in these river basins through these exercises. The exercises were carried out considering minimum of 20 minutes lag time. In real flood event, the time for community ranges from 20 minutes to 4 hours in Kankai and Kamala River basins from the time they first get the flood information. The flood forecasting stations in Titriya for Kamala River and Mainachuli for Kankai River are the sources of flood forecasting at real events.

    Rescue by task force members.

    The District Disaster Management Committee comprises all appropriate government agencies, NGOs and private sectors in each district. The security forces (Nepal Police and Armed Police Force) also joined the mock flood exercises in different communities and jointly carried out the drills. “Such exercise can help improve the response capacity of community along with skills on coordinated actions to deal with emergency situations,” said the Chief District Officer of Siraha.

    The districts have taken leaderships and institutionalized the events through formal decisions and requested NEOC and DHM to help them. This year, the event was organized in six rivers in Nepal – Karnali, West Rapti, Babai, Kamala and Kanakai Rivers covering about one third of total flood prone districts in the Tarai.

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  • Enhanced preparedness capacity of communities and local governments in Kankai basin

    April 4th, 2018

    The flood preparedness capacity of communities and local governments in Kankai River basin has been increased in the period of last three years. The project has carried out different trainings, orientations, workshops, exposure visits, etc., to increase the flood preparedness, risk reduction, mitigation and response capacity of communities and local governments.
    “Before the project intervention in our communities, we had to individually prepare for the monsoon flash flood. We did not have adequate knowledge on flood risk, flood monitoring and water in our community was the only way we knew there was flood,” says Durga Prasad Rajbanshi of Kichakdangi. “When the flood hit the community it was difficult for us to save our lives and properties. Things would go worse when the flood hit during night or the flood occurred without heavy rainfall in our locality,” he explains the suffering of the people in his community. Identifying the heavy loss of lives and properties and limited flood response capacity of the community in Kankai River basin, the Kankai end-to-end early warning project was started with one of the major key outcomes as strengthening community and stakeholder awareness and capacity in data and information sharing, understanding, monitoring and preparing for effective EWS and response to the flood disaster in Kankai River basin.
    The project designed its activities and ensured involvement of communities and stakeholders from central level to local district, VDC or municipality level for increased flood preparedness and response capacity. Different trainings, orientations, workshops, exposure visits on DRR, EWS, search and rescue, community action for disaster response(CADRE), DRR mainstreaming at local level, Institutional management of EWS, flood mock exercise, etc, were organised throughout the project period for shifting the priority of local communities from flood affected to flood prepared communities and shifting the priority of local government from flood relief and rescue to flood preparedness and mitigation.
    “Previously we had pre-monsoon cluster meeting and updating of district disaster preparedness and response plan (DDPRP) as preparedness measures but these measures were limited to the district level only. However, after the delivery of the project activities the preparedness scope has changed in Jhapa. Flood mock exercise from district level to community level is organised to test and evaluate the response capacity of the community and the stakeholders. The coordination with community and stakeholders is strengthened for better preparedness,” says Lok Raj Dhakal, president of Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) Jhapa.
    The preparedness scope of the communities has been changed in the recent years. The influence of the project activities has motivated the communities to prepare with go bag (jhatpat jhola) with important documents and valuable goods. The communities keep their moveable belongings to a raised level to avert damage from flood. “Whenever we get flood alert or warning, we put our moveable assets to a higher level and take our livestock to a safer place,” says Raj Bhakta Sunuwar, CDMC coordinator at Hokalbadi.

    Community people evacuating village during flood mock exercise

    Community people evacuating village during flood mock exercise

    “We did not think about disaster preparedness and mitigation measures; only discussed about relief and emergency response but after building our capacity on DRR with the support of Kankai end-to- end EWS project, we have allocated resources from VDC council, the people are aware and have mobilized the resources in highly vulnerable communities identified by the government to establish DRR fund, improvements of escape routes and DRR planning and emergency response,” says Rajendra Parajuli, VDC secretary of Taghadubba VDC. As a result of capacity building of communities and local government in Jhapa and Ilam districts in Kankai River basin have established DRR fund at all 25 communities, 11 VDCs and 2 municipalities, he adds.
    The upstream and downstream communities have established and strengthened linkage and network for better flood preparedness. The communities have established and strengthened coordination with local government and security forces for flood preparedness. The flood mock exercises with active participation of community, stakeholders and security forces have enhanced the flood response capacities of all. “Participation in mock flood exercise helped us in developing our capacity and coordination for effective rescue and response during a disaster,” says Bishnu Prasad Shrestha, in-charge of Korobari police post.
    “Previously we did not have adequate knowledge for flood monitoring and our response was limited to moving away to safe place when the flood water risked our lives. But it was not good as moving with children and belongings was very risky,” says Roma Mandal of Nayabasti. “We have now learned about flood risk, the vulnerabilities in our communities and flood monitoring. We keep our belongings safe with onset of the monsoon. The CDMC and task force members coordinate pre mock exercise, update us with necessary contact numbers. We update our communication channels and equipment so that we are well prepared before the flood hits our community,” she adds.
    The local VDCs and municipalities (now rural municipalities and municipalities respectively) have started to allocate some budget for local DRR fund since the time of project interventions in Kankai basin. This has capacitated the local government to act for preparedness and implement emergency mitigation measures. The communities have also established and been mobilizing DRR fund which has made them capable of carrying out small mitigation measures and preparedness activities before the flood. Mitigation measures like culverts, evacuation routes, bio-dykes are built or upgraded for better flood response.

    Bio-dyke protecting river bank at Korobari

    Bio-dyke (local technology) protecting river bank at Korobari

    The scope of flood preparedness in Jhapa has increased in the recent years after implementation of the project. This can be evaluated from the fact that there were no any human casualties and less damage to properties in the project communities in comparison to other adjoining communities in Kankai River basin. However, the preparedness of the communities and stakeholders is not adequate to avert losses of lives and properties. Awareness, capacity building trainings and standard operation procedure (SoP) for functioning of EWS needs to be developed for better flood preparedness and response.

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  • Mock flood exercises in Nepal prepare communities for monsoon

    June 19th, 2016

    On 5 June in the early morning, the community in Jhapa district of Eastern Nepal received phone calls around 9:00 am from the gauge reader at Mainachuli Hydrology Station located at upper stream of the Kankai River where flood information is monitored. The information is also monitored at the District Emergency Operation Centre (DEOC).

    flood early warning JhapaThe information conveyed was on rainfall in the upstream catchment and water level of river at Mainachuli. Building on the early information (alert, warning and danger levels) to follow the potential flood situation in particularly, search and rescue, first aid, relief and rehabilitation task forces and Community Disaster Management Committee (CDMC) each exercised the roles and responsibilities that are essential for efficiency during a real flood. The monsoon is approaching shortly and it is the need of the moment to generate that potential.

    The gauge reader said in the first message that there were three metres of flood. Immediately, the early warning system (EWS) task force alerted the CDMC and started informing every community member.  For mass communication, EWS task force uses hand operated sirens, flags and megaphones.  Ten minutes after the first call, the communities received a second phone call from the gauge station and DEOC informing them that the flood level had reached 3.7 metres and rainfall continued at the upstream catchment area. Hearing this, community members started the evacuation process. They were ready to evacuate to safer places and at the same time the task force started to evacuate highly vulnerable people such as people with disabilities, elderly women, pregnant women and children to pre-defined safe places.  The rest of the people were evacuated after they received the information that the flood level had crossed 4.2 metres. Four different task forces were activated with equipment and materials. The search and rescue (SAR) team rescued the injured people, the first aid team did the first aid treatment and transported the injured to hospital whereas the EWS team did internal and external coordination. The relief and rehabilitation task force did the overall management including shelter management, relief, etc. The CDMC supervised the whole process.

    Flood early warning Jhapa

    This is how a mock flood exercise is done every year ahead of the monsoons to ensure the communities are prepared for the worst-case scenario during the floods.

    Practical Action and Nepal Red Cross, Jhapa Chapter in coordination with the government’s Department of Hydrology and Meteorology and local authorities organised the mock flood exercise for 15 communities from 6 village development committees (VDCs) and 2 municipalities in Jhapa District of Eastern Nepal on the occasion of World Environment Day on 5 June 2016.

    The massive exercises, with the involvement of more than 885 women and 615 men volunteers, 297 task forces, 75 disaster management committee  members and 10 project staff, was organised with the intention that the communities will be able to conduct such events in the future by themselves.

    In the review meeting the CDMC members said that the exercises have developed their confidence. The exercises were carried out for minimum of 30 minutes lag time although it ranges up to 2 hours for the farthest community from Mainachuli. Officials from the district level agencies, security forces, representatives of different political parties and Nepal Red Cross representing the District Disaster Response Committee (DDRC) observed the community response. The DDRC members appreciated the event and preparedness to saving lives from flood and expressed their commitment to institutionalise the practice.

    Local security offices (Nepal Police and Armed Police Force) joined the mock flood exercise and were pleased to join the community in countering a possible flood with safety precautions.

    “Such exercise can help improve the capacity of community who have to deal with emergency situations,” said an official from the district Police Office.

    The mock exercise was conducted just before monsoon. It was helpful in terms of updating emergency equipment, communication phone directory, communication channels and making the communities ready to cope with the upcoming flood this year.

    Similar mock flood exercises were conducted for 74 communities of Bardiya and Kailali Districts from Karnali River Basin in Western Nepal.

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