Swift Disaster Response


In the span of 28 days, monsoon disasters in Nepal have claimed 48 lives and injured 54 people. Rainfall patterns have changed in recent years, resulting in high-intensity precipitations occurring over a short period of time which has amplified the magnitude of floods and landslides. Like every year, floods and landside have wreaked havoc causing a huge loss of lives and property, inundating farmlands and damaging infrastructure such as roads, bridges, power and communication networks. Those affected by the monsoon disasters require immediate search, rescue, relief assistance and rehabilitation. At least 16 people were killed and two went missing in floods and landslides triggered by heavy rainfall in three days from Friday to Sunday. A total of 28 persons went missing and 27 vital infrastructures were destroyed. 

In this critical situation, the government agencies assigned to deal with the monsoon and other natural disasters need to spring into action without any delay because wasting time for action results in the loss of more lives and property. A sound preparedness and effective mobilisation of resources can make a huge difference. Losses can go higher when response mechanisms are ill-equipped and poorly managed. Disaster-prone areas call for the installation of effective early warning systems so that communities are informed about imminent floods and landslides on time. Poorly built and maintained infrastructures worsen the damage caused by natural disasters. Communities and local governments often lack training and resources needed for effective disaster preparedness and response. Coordination between various government agencies, non-governmental organisations, community members and political party volunteers are vital for search, rescue and rehabilitation works earthquakes, floods and landslides. 

Nepal witnessed heavy loss of life and property due to the floods and landslides caused by the three-day-long incessant rains. The flooding of rivers and rivulets have turned the daily life of people upside down. Floods have polluted drinking water sources as well, leaving the people in various parts of the country without clean drinking water. This situation poses a looming risk of waterborne disease outbreaks. Additionally, they face the threat of various vector-borne diseases such as gastroenteritis, dengue, malaria, diarrhea and Japanese encephalitis. Snake bites also present a significant hazard in the situation of floods and inundation. Providing immediate relief to the victims, medical care to the injured and emergency medical treatment requires the establishment of field hospitals. Adequate number of medical staff needs to be put on standby to deal with disaster emergencies. 

The disaster survivors should be provided immediate temporary shelters where they also need the supply of clean drinking water, food, tents, blankets and clothes. Kids and the elderly people should be given special care. A slow response in restoring infrastructure, rebuilding homes, and providing relief and assistance to the victims result in intensified pain and anguish. Along with the immediate relief plan, the government needs to focus on long-term measures like afforestation and making embankments along the river banks. Riverside settlements within the danger area need to be relocated in advance. It is always the poor, disadvantaged and vulnerable who are hardest hit by the natural calamities. So it is important to make sure they get the proper attention in time of need.

How did you feel after reading this news?