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International Day for Disaster Reduction Observed

© UNICEF Nepal/2012/BLimbu
Honourable Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Mr Bijay Kumar Gachhedar lights the panas(traditional lamp) during the programme

Kathmandu,12October2012, Nepal celebrated International Day for Disaster Reduction with various activities in the capital today.  The underlying theme of the event was “Women and Girls – the (In) Visible Force of Resilience”.

According to a recent UN report, Reducing Disaster Risk, Nepal ranks 11th and 15th globally in terms of relative vulnerability to earthquakes and floods respectively. Over the past three years, floods have affected over 500,000 people in at least 14 terai districts. A total of 64 out of 75 districts are prone to disasters of some type according to the Narcotics and Disaster Management Section, Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA).

One of the activities was a symposium on IDDR participated by over 200 participants inaugurated by chief guest Honourable Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Mr Bijay Kumar Gachhedar. The SAHANA – a Disaster Management System was also launched at the event that helps district level government officials to enter in the main system on disasters (after occurrence of disaster). Since any individual can access the site and get information related to disasters, it substantially reduces the dependency on the government for simple and useful information.

The launch of Sahana was followed by a video produced by UNICEF Nepal. Ms Hanaa Singer, UNICEF Nepal Representative launched the video that gave strong messages for the need to work towards a more resilient, cooperative force for disaster reduction. The video also addressed the need to empower women and children in order to secure a better, safer future for one’s family and the society as a whole.
“It is a plain and simple truth that disasters in Nepal reinforce, perpetuate and increase gender inequality, making bad situations worse for women,” said the chief guest, Mr. Bijaya Kumar Gachhedar. He also spoke of the special attention and commitment that needed to be given to policies to focus on participation, empowerment and reducing vulnerability to those who are at most risk. “In fact women and girls in our county are among the most active when it comes to creating resilience and protecting their communities.”

An earthquake drill was observed at Nandi Ratri Secondary School, nearby the venue. The drill highlighted how students, teachers and the general public can be better prepared for an earthquake. A special photo exhibit on women and girls in disaster risk reduction was also on display at the venue.

 

 

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