Earthquake Risk Reduction and Recovery Preparedness Programme for South Asian Region kicks off
August 10, Kathmandu- The five South Asian countries- Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan meet begins in Kathmandu today, for a 3 day workshop to plan and implement earthquake risk reduction strategies integrating disaster preparedness, mitigation and post disaster recovery. In order to address earthquake risks and vulnerabilities of the South Asian region, UNDP has initiated a regional programme for Earthquake Risk Reduction and Recovery Preparedness with the funding support from the Government of Japan. By bringing together a range of stakeholders, the workshop aims to facilitate the process of information exchange and technical cooperation at the national and regional level.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the workshop, the Secretary of the Ministry of Physical planning and Works Mr. Umakant Jha stated, 'Nepal has done some progress in terms of preparation and implementation of the National Building Code. The amendment of the Building Act in 2007 has empowered the municipalities for effective implementation of the code. Although the Building Act requires all the municipalities to implement building code, most of them are not in a position to do so because of the technical, financial and political reasons.' UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Robert Piper stated, 'When it comes to earthquakes, we know that 75% of all deaths are due to building collapse. The case for clear, well-enforced building codes is evident.
Yet the will to implement them remains weak as some of the structures we have allowed to be built.' All the relevant stakeholders including the government officials, donors and I/NGOs are brought together to ensure appropriate technical assistance for the regional and country level projects using regional and international specialized agencies, NGOs and networks working on disaster risk reduction and recovery initiatives. The initiatives include sharing of knowledge and experiences on structural and non-structural matters such as building codes implementation, earthquake safe construction methods, capacity building and awareness raising, as well as facilitating cross-border mutual assistance, such as use of regional expertise for EQ safe construction practice, training and communication facilities which are important preparedness elements at the regional level.
Highlighting the purpose of the 3 day workshop, His Excellency, Tatsuo Mizuno, Japanese Ambassador to Nepal said, 'the workshop will provide opportunity for the participating countries to share ample knowledge and experiences on mitigating the risks of earthquakes for institution and capacity building.' He further added, 'Japan remains committed to provide Nepal, all kinds of support in this regard.' The workshop is jointly organized by the Regional Coordination office of the Earthquake Risk Reduction and Recovery Preparedness Programme (ERRRP) for South Asian Region, Ministry of Physical Planning and Works, Government of Nepal, SAARC Disaster Management Centre, UNDP, ERRRP project for Nepal and Asian Disaster Reduction Centre. Note to the Editor: In the South Asian region, frequencies of earthquakes are resulting in extensive damages and loss of life.
Limited capacities of the national organisations and low awareness in the most vulnerable communities add to the impact of disasters. Public buildings (schools, hospitals, community centres, etc) and private houses in the region are in many cases highly vulnerable to earthquakes which caused serious destruction of lives and livelihood during earthquakes. In order to address these issues at national and regional level, UNDP initiated a regional programme for Earthquake Risk Reduction and Recovery Preparedness with the funding support from the Government of Japan.
The programme aims to strengthen the institutional and community capacity to plan and implement earthquake risk reduction strategies integrating disaster preparedness, mitigation and post disaster recovery in five South Asian countries (Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan) following the regional approach. The programme seeks to support regional cooperation for disaster risk reduction and recovery preparedness in the context of SAARC Framework for Disaster Management which is also aligned with the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA).
For more information pls. contact Sangita Khadka, Development Communications Officer, UNDP Nepal at 00-977-1-5523200 or firstname.lastname@example.org