Disaster Risks in Nepal: Perception Review

PERCEPTION(Photo Source: Google)

Prior to the Gorkha Earthquake 2015, National Society for Earthquake Technology-Nepal (NSET), under the Public-Private Partnership for Earthquake Risk Management (3PERM) program sponsored by the USAID/OFDA, conducted multiple earthquake risk perception surveys of various private-sector stakeholders in Nepal, during the years 2013 thru 2015.

The core objective of the survey was to discover the industries’ individual-level as well as organization-level earthquake/disaster risk perception. The participants included various private sector business personnel as well as core business stakeholders from diverse fields such as manufacturing, trading, retailers, pharmaceuticals, construction, telecommunications, commerce & industries.

Post-Earthquake, in 2015, another round of such earthquake risk perception survey was carried out in as many as 15 private-sector manufacturing houses including brick, cement, reinforcement steel, CGI Sheet, GI Wire and four different construction companies to understand their present-day perception of disaster risks, the level of disaster preparedness in their organizations and major obstacle faced by the industries while moving in the direction of building an organization-level Disaster Risk Management (DRM) system.

riskmanagement(Photo Source: Google)

In this study, the pre and post-survey results were then carefully compared, analyzed and presented graphically. Altogether, around 500 competent individuals participated throughout the entire survey process. A major portion of the actual survey questionnaire-set, listed below in Table 1, has been discussed in this article.

Table 1. Earthquake/Disaster risk perception survey questionnaireTable 1

  • An encouraging 73% of business circle thought that the earthquake preparedness activities could help them face disasters at personal as well as at organizational level. After the Gorkha Earthquake, the perception for the need of earthquake preparedness has certainly gone up. 87% of the construction sector businesses think that preparedness can help them in the event of a real disaster. Please see below Figure 1 and 2.

Figure 1. Before the Gorkha Earthquake 2015Figure 1

Figure 2. After the Gorkha Earthquake 2015Figure 2

  • A total of 78% private sector survey-responders acknowledged that they at least knew something about the existence of earthquake safe building technology and relevant safe construction practices. The level of awareness has risen since the advent of the earthquake. Altogether 93% of the construction sector industries claim that they are aware of such safe practices. Please see below Figure 3 and 4.

Figure 3. Before the Gorkha Earthquake 2015Figure 3

Figure 4. After the Gorkha Earthquake 2015Figure 4

  • Before the Gorkha Earthquake, nearly 85% of the private sector responders admitted that they either didn’t have an Emergency Management Committee in their organizations or they had no idea about it. Although there is some progress, an alarming 67% of the construction sector organizations still don’t have Emergency Management Committee in place. Please see below Figure 5 and 6.

Figure 5. Before the Gorkha Earthquake 2015Figure 5

Figure 6. After the Gorkha Earthquake 2015Figure 6

  • 87% of the responders agreed that they either didn’t have emergency/disaster preparedness, response or business recovery plans in their organizations or had no clue about their existence at all. There is no major shift in the preparedness level of the companies, although the level of initiative in this direction has risen from 4% to 33%. In the post disaster scenario, 80% construction sector companies were still sitting struggling with no Emergency Preparedness & Response plan or a Business Recovery Plan on hand. Please see Figure 7 and 8.

Figure 7. Before the Gorkha Earthquake 2015Figure 7

Figure 8. After the Gorkha Earthquake 2015Figure 8

  • A majority 30% of private sector responders had pointed to ‘Lack of knowledge’ as one of the main reasons for not having a Disaster Risk Management (DRM) program in their organizations. Besides, ‘Lack of qualified professionals’ and ‘Lack of Government guidelines’ were the next major reasons why companies didn’t have DRM in place. After the Gorkha Earthquake, there seems to be a major hike in the response which points the finger at the Government for not encouraging or pressing enough to have an organizational DRM. 47% of the construction sector industries think that there is a serious lack of concrete government policy which is hindering the process of DRM implementation in business organizations. Please seeFigure 9 and 10.

Figure 9. Before the Gorkha Earthquake 2015Figure 9

Figure 10. After the Gorkha Earthquake 2015Figure 10

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