Nepal Prioritizes Climate Adaptation: Early Warnings Seen as Key Defense

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Kathmandu, March 21: Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Shakti Bahadur Basnet, has underlined the need for citizens’ increased access to early warning systems.

Inaugurating a ‘National-Level Learning Sharing Workshop on Early Warning System’ organised by the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology in collaboration with the Institute of Himalayan Risk Reduction, the Minister said all should have access to an early warning system.

The event is supported by the USAID.

Developing countries like Nepal have a minimum role in climate change. We face a growing risk of climate change due to the contribution of rich and industrial nations to carbon emissions, according to the Minister who said the climate change impact led to rising incidences of water-induced disasters such as floods and landslides. He utilised the forum to urge for finding a substantive way out to mitigate and address the issue.

 The Minister underlined the need to assess the impacts of monsoon-related activities, forecasting potential risks and focusing on safety management.  He was of the opinion that people’s increased access to the early warning system would help mitigate potential damages from disasters like landslides and floods.

Minister Basnet said, “Hundreds of people lost their lives while physical property got damaged every year due to disaster incidents, flood and landslide “, adding possible losses could be reduced if the early warning system is made systematic and accessible to all.

He expressed the belief that a new dimension would be added making the early warning system effective in the coming days. The Minister mentioned that Nepal should give priority to climate adaptation programmes rather than disaster reduction programmes to reduce risk of climate change.

Saying monsoon-related disasters might affect the country’s economic system, the Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, Sushil Chandra Tiwari, clarified that the role of an early warning system is important to lessen losses.

“Problems are surfacing every year due to natural disasters including floods and landslides. Different sectors including infrastructure, tourism, agriculture and bio-diversity have been affected along with huge loss of lives and property”, he stressed.

Possible damages could be lessened if early information related to monsoon-related incidents could be dispatched on time, Tiwari added.

Similarly, the Director General at the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, Dr Jagadishwor Karmacharya pointed out that an early warning system was necessary to effectively reduce disaster-related incidents.

He underlined that the Ministry would move ahead collaborating with all benefitting the general people from early information systems.

Likewise, Executive Chief of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority, Anil Pokharel, shared that preparation was underway to make a concrete plan regarding reducing loss as the country’s economy was affected due to damage in hydropower and infrastructures by flood in recent period.

It was necessary to move ahead with developing early warning systems in other areas where there is more monsoon-related risk and discussion was underway with bodies concerned on this matter, he mentioned.

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