Due to rapid urbanization and growth, several cities in Nepal are vulnerable to multi-hazard risks and their impacts. With support from European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is working with three municipal governments (Lalitpur, Bharatpur and Bhimeshwor) to create a common understanding on urban disaster risks and collaborate in addressing such risks while preparing for and better responding to resultant humanitarian emergencies.

Fires and earthquakes are recognized as the most common and recurring disasters in these urban areas. Keeping this in mind, UNDP recently conducted a series of Advanced Firefighting, Rescue and Hazardous Material Handling trainings to enhance capacities of the local fire brigade for effective and coordinated fire response in future. Further, the first phase of a series of scenario-based simulation (Simex) exercises were also conducted to assess capacities of local stakeholders, community members and first responders to deal with fire and earthquake incidents. Capacity development initiatives will be tailored and implemented accordingly in due course.

Kishor Bhattarai, former Fire Brigade chief of Kathmandu and instructor for the Advanced Firefighting, Rescue and Hazmat Handling training demonstrates correct techniques of addressing fire hazards to local firefighters of Lalitpur Metropolitan City.

Trainee firefighters of Lalitpur Metropolitan City extinguish a dummy fire during mock drill session of the Advanced Firefighting, Rescue and Hazmat Handling training.
UNDP consultant trainer Santosh Neupane explains roles and responsibilities to members of the local community before the Fire and Earthquake simulation exercises kickoff.
Members of Nepal Army, Armed Police Force of Nepal and Nepal Scout discuss their action plan for rescue and relief works before the Fire and Earthquake simulation exercises kickoff in Bhimeshwor municipality.
Scenario-based emergency response simulation exercises (Simex) are critical to test the knowledge and skills achieved by community members, community response volunteer and municipal authorities during disasters and enhance their understanding of risk.
Local firefighters of Bhimeshwor municipality douse fire during the mock drill session of the scenario-based emergency response simulation exercises (Simex).
Members of Nepal Army and Nepal Scout jointly rescue an earthquake victim after first-aid during the scenario-based emergency response simulation exercises (Simex) in Bhimeshwor municipality.
Local government representatives inquire community members about the damage caused by a fire incident during the mock drill session of the scenario-based emergency response simulation exercises (Simex) in Bhimeshwor municipality.
Mayor Bharat Bahadur KC during the opening session of the scenario-based emergency response simulation exercises (Simex) in Bhimeshwor municipality.
With support from European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) plans to provide further advanced trainings and equipment to the local fire brigades to strengthen their fire response capacities.

Footnotes
Photo credit: Abhushan Gautam

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