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Strengthening Flood Resilience in Kankai River Basin in Nepal

Flood risk is increasing in the Kankai river basin in Nepal due to various factors, such as erratic pattern of rainfall in the upstream catchments. Vulnerable communities do not have access to information about the dynamic flood and landslide risks.

We are addressing the problem by establishing an improved end-to-end early warning system (EWS) in the Kankai river system, and strengthening the existing systems, particularly focusing on risk monitoring, risk communication and dissemination, and response mechanisms.

What we’re doing to help

Strengthening Flood Resilience in Kankai River Basin, Nepal
(Kankai End-to-End Flood Warning Systems project)

Objective: Contribute to reduction of loss of lives and property due to disaster
Location: Kankai River basin in Ilam and Jhapa districts, east Nepal
Number of beneficiaries: 5,681
Project date: September 2014 - August 2017
Partners: Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS)
Principal funders: US Aid / OFDA

The goal of the project is to protect lives, properties and livelihoods of the most vulnerable people.

The project directly benefits 5,681 people in the downstream flood plains of Jhapa, which is severely affected by flood almost every year, and supports a similar number of people in Ilam with rainfall information.

The project has been facilitating the establishment of community-centered flood early warning system advanced risk monitoring and communication technologies. It also works to strengthen awareness and capacity of the community and stakeholders at local to national level to understand, monitor and prepare for disaster response through effective EWS and response to the flood disaster.

Early warning system helps save lives in Nepal

5 August 2016: Our early warning system in the Kankai River basin, Nepal, saved many lives when monsoon rains hit the catchments in the last week of July.

The text messaging system, in partnership with telecom operator Ncell, and the mock flood exercises carried out in June were crucial in enabling villagers to access risk information and evacuating those likely to be affected by the flood.

Local villager Pratap BK said: “If we had not received messages through SMS and information about the rainfall and water level, more than 93 people from Taghnadubba village would have been washed away.”

Many lives were saved on the other bank of the river and adjacent villages.

By strengthening local emergency small-scale infrastructures, supporting emergency materials and equipment in both river systems, and creating awareness on early warning systems (particularly in Kankai River system), the project will enhance the community’s capacity to respond to floods.

The project is also enhancing capacity of the stakeholders in risk-sensitive planning, integrating and mainstreaming disaster risk reduction (DRR) in local development plans and programmes, and their implementation.

  • The project has helped the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) to establish flood and rainfall monitoring stations in the river catchments.
  • It supports monitoring of the flood risk through real time rainfall and flood monitoring and forecasting of flood based on rainfall monitoring information.
  • The project also benefits district level stakeholders like District Disaster Management Committees (DDMC) to effective response and saving lives and assets.

The project has generated replicable approach of partnership, coordination and advanced technological application on EWS and the approach is being replicated in Kamala river basin from 2016.

Our approach

The main focus of this project has been to establish an Early Warning System based on the Flash Flood Guidance System and strengthen the capacity of vulnerable communities, government agencies and non-government organisations so that we can manage our approach sustainably.

We first carried out a Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (VCA) with help from district authorities, VDCs, municipalities and likeminded organisations so that we could analyse the situation of vulnerable communities. This helped to organise the vulnerable people in different task forces and Community Disaster Management Committees (CDMCs). We also formed a Local Disaster Risk Management Committee to mobilise these communities for disaster response. Thus organised people and the government agencies have been trained on all the components of Early Warning System and aspects of Disaster Risk Reduction, Disaster Preparedness and Response.

The project team along with the Department for Hydrology and Meteorology assessed the situation of upstream Kankai for requirements of automatic meteorology and hydrology stations and recommended the sites for installation of stations at different strategic points.

This project has worked in partnership with the Nepal Red Cross Society and been funded by USAID/OFDA.

Find out more

Flood Resilience Portal

A new website provides development workers who live and work in flood-affected communities with easy access to the resources they need to build resilience to floods.

Find out more

Early Warning Systems

Practical Action is working in many countries that are regularly affected by natural disasters. In these countries we explore innovative early warning systems with hazard-prone communities to provide the advance warning they need.

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Disaster risk reduction

Practical Action aims to reduce the risk of disasters for marginalised groups and communities by mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) into all development processes.

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Disaster risk reduction information from Practical Answers

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