Nepal gears up for emergencies

Dec 17, 2010

Photo: UNDP Nepal

A National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) has been set up under the Disaster Management Section of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), to direct disaster response operation in a coordinated and effective manner. Under the current Natural Calamity Act, the NEOC will operate as the hub for coordination, communication and management of effective response to disasters in Nepal. 

The NEOC has been constructed with special reinforcement so that it is functional during any major disasters including mega earthquakes. 

Established with financial support from the Government of Australia through AusAID, technical support from UNDP, Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, UN?s Department for Safety & Security (UNDSS) and the World Food Programme (WFP), the NEOC?s 
Disaster Information Management System is supported by the Government of Nepal?s High Level Commission on Information Technology. 
The Centre is well equipped to facilitate necessary communication, information management and emergency response operation during disasters and emergencies. 

The officials deployed from the MoHA, Nepal Police and Armed Police are currently operating the Centre. During emergency, security agencies like the Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, the Nepalese Army and other relevant agencies will deploy their additional officials to support the operation of the Centre as well. 

During normal situation, the Centre will focus on the collection of information, stock taking of resources, training and emergency response simulation exercises. These exercises are vital to devise effective emergency responses in the country. 

The Centre was inaugurated on 17 December by the Honourable Minister for Home Affairs, Mr. Bhim Bahadur Rawal. 

Speaking at the launch event, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Mr. Robert Piper said, ?Mounting an effective disaster response requires a minimum base of infrastructure and equipment. A well-equipped NEOC is the prerequisite. Now the attention will turn to the systems, procedures and people needed to use this excellent facility to save lives when it is called upon.

Upon availability of funds, emergency services will be gradually expanded to the districts. The Ministry of Home Affairs with support from UNDP is planning to establish six district level Emergency Operation Centres with basic equipment and training in 2011.

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