United Nations
Information Centre | Nepal
Emergency Response Capacity Scoping Mission (May 2011)
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Nepal is vulnerable to a multitude of hazards. The Government of Nepal (GoN) has recognised its current limitations in its ability to respond to large scale disasters, and the international community has increasingly demonstrated its commitment to reduce the risk of disasters in Nepal. However, the impact of day-to-day emergencies is neither well understood nor does it enjoy the required attention by either the GoN or the international community.
In 2009, the Nepal Risk Reduction Consortium (NRRC), which aims to address the vulnerability to natural disasters in a coordinated manner, identified five flagship areas. Of specific relevance to this scoping mission is Flagship Area 2, Emergency Preparedness and Response Capacity, the objective of which is to “...enhance the Government of Nepal’s response capabilities at the national, regional, and district levels.”
The development of Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) capacity has been identified as a high priority activity as part of the institutional capacity building of first responders.
Sustainable USAR capacities cannot be developed in isolation, it must form an integral part of a holistic response system.
Based on Chapter G of the INSARAG Guidelines as well as lessons learned from previous USAR capacity development projects, the focus of this scoping mission was expanded from purely USAR to include emergency response capacity.
In the context of this review, emergency response capacity is considered to encompass the disciplines of search and rescue (SAR), fire fighting, pre- hospital emergency care and hazardous materials (HAZMAT).
It is acknowledged that there are numerous non-government stakeholders actively engaged in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) activities; however the focus of this mission was on the capacities and requirements of the GoN.
SAR is currently being provided by the three security agencies, namely Nepal Police (NP); Armed Police Force (APF) and Nepal Army (NA), none of which have SAR as a primary mandate. The agencies lack institutional capacity, training and equipment to respond effectively as part of an integrated SAR system. The three agencies assume the role of SAR as a secondary or tertiary responsibility in an ad-hoc manner.
The capacity of the fire service does not meet the demands of the current environment. The institutional capacity is weak, training opportunities are sparse, equipment is outdated and many of the vehicles are unserviceable. Well-meaning donations are conducted in an ad-hoc fashion and therefore there is no intra-agency compatibility, types of vehicles in use cannot enter many areas in the Kathmandu Valley due to very narrow roadways and access to a water source is a significant challenge.
The Government provided ambulance service is essentially a transport service, with limited to no on-site medical intervention or in-transit medical care being provided. There is a strong reliance on the multitude on non- government ambulance organisations which are not centrally coordinated.
There does not appear to be any current capacity to respond to and mitigate the risks posed by HAZMAT to the public, livestock and the environment.
INSARAG/UN ,   (2011 )
Type / Script:
Progress Report in English
Thematic Group:
 UN : International Peace and Security
13.02.00  -  Disaster Prevention, Preparedness And Relief
Reference Link:
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