Necessity of early warning systems in Nepal

Meen Bahudar Poudyal Chhetri
Ministry of Home Affairs, G.P.O. Box 7230, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Tel. : 00977-1-226-137,
Fax: 00977-1-22-16-99

Like in other disaster prone countries early warning systems are an urgently needed for disaster mitigation in Nepal. In the context of our country, in order to have an effective early warning system, public awareness should be raised because a large fraction of the population is illiterate. The literacy rate of the country is only 40 percent. Basic knowledge regarding disasters and their management including early warning systems has to be included in the curriculum. Our past records show that many people died in inappropriately constructed buildings that collapsed in an earthquake or due to other natural disasters. The main cause of inappropriate construction is, even today, the lack of mass education. For an effective early warning system we may need to develop a scientific detection system to monitor changes in the physical environment. Dissemination of information to the public by the government and other related agencies responsible for safeguarding public health and welfare is very necessary.

Our National Action Plan on disaster management emphasises on the effective use of early warning systems in Nepal. The Ministry of Home Affairs is the apex body to co-ordinate and monitor disaster management activities in the country especially in the response-sector.