Sensitizing the CA member for DRM issues

Sep 30, 2011

The Ministry of Home Affairs organized a sensitization workshop on 29th September 2011 and an Earthquake drill on 30th September for the Constituent Assembly members in Kathmandu to raise the awareness on Disaster Risk Management issues among the policy makers. UNDP’s Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management Programme (CDRMP) supported the events.

107 participants including 80 CA members participated in the programme and the programme was chaired by CA member and chairperson of Parliamentarian Action Committee on Environment, Climate Change and the disaster Sunil Babu Panta. The Constituent Assembly vice chairperson Purna Kumari Subedi was the chief guest. Addressing the programme, CA vice chair person Ms. Subedi said that the media covered the event inside the CA hall during the September 18th earthquake as a humour, but the issue is very critical. The CA members are also human being and are equally vulnerable to earthquake and many of us don't know about the right thing to do when an earthquake strikes. She hoped that the workshop and  the drill will be very useful to make the CA members aware about the earthquake preparedness and response. She also promised to support will support the DRM issues in Nepal from her capacity as CA vice Chairperson.

Addressing the inaugural session, Home Secretary Mr. Sushil Jang Bahadur Rana said that the government is better prepared for the disaster response than before, but still there are many challenges and gaps. One of the major challenges faced by the government is coordination and communication problem. Government is improving its response mechanism and communication systems.

UNDP country director Ms. Shoko Noda, addressing the session informed that UNDP’s efforts are aim to strengthen the government's capacity on the DRM issues. She stressed combined efforts of government, civil society, business community and the citizens are essential to maintain and sustain the currently achieved level of preparedness and response. Expressing the commitment to support DRM related policies and issues, chair person of the event and CA member Sunil Babu Pant concluded the inaugural session.

After the inaugural session, a number of experts from different sectors made presentations on various DRM issues. First presentation was from Mr. Shankar Prasad Koirala, Joint Secretary of Ministry of Home Affairs about the government’s policies and interventions on Disaster Risk Reduction. Mr. Koirala informed that the new proposed act for the DRM is being finalized by Home ministry and will be tabled in the parliament after approval from cabinet within a month. The presentation was followed by discussion where the CA members queried about the government’s plan and capacity to disaster preparedness and response. CA members suggested that Home ministry should bring the proposed act as soon as possible for decision in the parliament.

 After that Dr. Min Bahadur Poudyal Chhetri chairperson DPNet Nepal made a brief presentation about the need and importance of earthquake disaster preparedness. Next presentation was from ADPC’s Mr. Sudhir Kumar about 10 points for disaster resilient Nepal and role of CA members, who could advocate at the highest level while lead the awareness raising activities for people.

A Duck-Cover-Hold drill was organized in the parliament secretariat Singh Durbar on 30th September 2011. Around 65 participants, primarily CA members, secretariat staff members participated in the drill exercise. The drill simulated the Duck-Cover-Hold exercise during an earthquake shaking and evacuation of the victims to the safer location outside the Parliament secretariat.

The CA members regarded the drill as a very important exercise and suggested to conduct a larger drill in the CA assembly hall for all 601 CA members and broadcast live through television channel so that people can also be sensitized about the simple but inevitable safety measures during earthquake shaking.

The workshop and drill was successful in raising the awareness among the CA members about DRM issues in general and EQ preparedness in particular. The participating CA members expressed commitment to support the DRM issues in the Constituent Assembly and parliament.

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