Building back better in Nepal

15 May 2015 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, New York

woman carrying door in NepalTo help the micro-entrepreneurs, UNDP is allocating resources so that they can rapidly restore their businesses. Photo: UNDP in Nepal
The earthquake in Nepal is a tragedy, and there can be little consolation for the large scale death and destruction— for the lives and livelihoods lost, or for the many who are seriously injured, shattered and living in a state of fear and despair. … Read more

Seeing disaster risk first hand in Nepal

12 May 2015 by Rajesh Sharma, Programme Specialist, Disaster Risk Information and Application, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub

Damaged roads in Bhaktapur, Kathmandu Valley following the 25 April earthquakeRoads are damaged in Bhaktapur, Kathmandu Valley following the 25 April earthquake. Photo: Laxmi Prasad Ngakhus / UNDP Nepal
On the morning of Saturday, 25 April I was at a restaurant in Kathmandu when I felt a mild vibration of the floor similar to the one felt by the movement of a heavy vehicle. Before I could make out what it was, the vibrations became intense and the waiter just ran out. All of this happened in a very short time, without any early warning. … Read more

Nepal’s opportunity to seize the moment for the future of its people

04 May 2015 by Sujala Pant, Governance Specialist, UNDP Regional Hub in Bangkok

A woman tries to recover belongings from the earthquake rubble.The need of the hour is to ensure that the generously contributed aid is disbursed in a timely and transparent manner and reaches people who need it most. Photo UNDP Nepal
When the elders in my family spoke of the 1934 earthquake, they talked about how scary it had been, and the damage it left behind. How Dharara, once the tallest structure in Kathmandu, was rebuilt. I was in Kathmandu this time around and it was terrifying to experience the earthquake. I took refuge in my aunt’s house, along with 25 other people whose homes, like many across the city, were either damaged or destroyed. … Read more

Nepal: A lesson in the risks climate change poses to disaster-prone countries

30 Apr 2015 by Daniel Buckley, Climate Change Policy and Finance Analyst, UNDP Sustainable Development Group

Internally displaced persons in Sankhu, northwestern NepalTens of thousands of people have been displaced by the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April. Photo: Laxmi Prasad Ngakhusi / UNDP Nepal.
As relief assistance rushes to Nepal after the earthquake, those efforts are being hampered by a number of factors. Weak existing infrastructure means many critical roads have been damaged. Remote mountain villages perched on hillsides require helicopters to distribute aid. Inadequate communications networks complicate the ability to understand and prioritise where relief is most needed. … Read more

Nepal: Why we must work together to reduce the risk of disasters in vulnerable countries

29 Apr 2015 by Helen Clark, Administrator, UNDP

A 7.9 magnitude earthquake has caused widespread destruction in NepalIn 2011, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark visited downtown Kathmandu for an 'eathquake walk' - a tour on disaster preparedness. Photo: Bikash Rauniyar/UNDP Nepal
In 2011, I went on an official tour of downtown Kathmandu called the “Earthquake Walk.” This tour, led by the government and other partners on disaster preparedness, was intended to demonstrate the vulnerabilities of residential and other buildings, including those of heritage and religious significance, to the next large earthquake that would strike the region one day. What I learned on the tour was alarming. … Read more

Protecting development requires an ambitious, actionable framework for disaster risk reduction

17 Nov 2014 by Jo Scheuer, Chief of Profession/Director, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction

 Participants receive training on disaster preventionParticipants receive training on disaster prevention in Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic to protect the people and infrastructure of the municipalities of the province. Photo credit: Benjamín Pérez Espinal/UNDP Dominican Republic
This week, representatives from Member States, civil society, the UN and the private sector are meeting in Geneva to continue work on a Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. This Framework, a successor to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), will shape how national governments and the international community undertake disaster risk reduction and resilience building for the next 20-years. Given its longevity and (hopeful) impact, a great deal rests on making this Framework as strong and efficient as possible. I would like to offer a few recommendations: First, HFA2 must recognize that disaster risk is first and foremost a development concern. While hazards, such as floods, are a given in the world we live in, whether or not that flood turns into a full blown disaster really depends on the quality of development that’s been undertaken. HFA2 must acknowledge this fact and ensure that the actions it recommends clearly enable risk-informed development.   Second, climate change is going to seriously exacerbate the threat of disasters; we must therefore see this as a game-changer in disaster risk reduction. HFA2 should position itself as a disaster risk roadmap, clearly complementary of any future climate change activities. Like many agencies and partners UNDP … Read more