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Making communities disaster resilient: Challenges and prospects for community engagement in Nepal

Chandra Lal Pandey (Department of Development Studies, School of Arts, Kathmandu University, Kathmandu, Nepal)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 7 September 2018

Issue publication date: 22 January 2019

2274

Abstract

Purpose

Understanding bottom-up approaches including local coping mechanisms, recognizing them and strengthening community capacities is important in the process of disaster risk reduction. The purpose of this paper is to address the questions: to what extent existing disaster policies in Nepal support and enable community-based disaster resilience? and what challenges and prospects do the communities have in responding to disaster risk for making communities resilient?

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on policy and academic literature reviews complimented by field research in two communities, one in Shankhu, Kathmandu district and another in Satthighare, Kavrepalanchowk district in Nepal. The author conducted in-depth interviews and mapped out key disaster-related policies of Nepal to investigate the role of communities in disaster risk management and post-disaster activities and their recognition in disaster-related policies.

Findings

The author found that existing literature clearly identifies the importance of the community led initiatives in risks reduction and management. It is evolutionary phenomenon, which has already been piloted in history including in the aftermath of Nepal earthquake 2015 yet existing policies of Nepal do not clearly identify it as an important component by providing details of how communities can be better engaged in the immediate aftermath of disaster occurrence.

Research limitations/implications

The author conducted this research based on data from two earthquake affected areas only. The author believes that this research can still play an important role as representative study.

Practical implications

The practical implication of this research is that communities need to understand about risks society for disaster preparedness, mitigation and timely response in the aftermath of disasters. As they are the first responders against the disasters, they also need trainings such as disaster drills such as earthquakes, floods and fire and mock practice of various early warning systems can be conducted by local governments to prepare these communities better to reduce disaster risk and casualties.

Social implications

The mantra of community-based disaster risk management (CBDRM) is community engagement, which means the involvement of local people to understand and prepare against their local hazards and risks associated with disaster and haphazard development. CBDRM approaches motivate people to work together because they feel a sense of belongingness to their communities and recognize the benefits of their involvement in disaster mitigation and preparedness. Clearly, community engagement for disaster risk reduction and management brings great benefits in terms of ownership and direct savings in losses from disasters because the dynamic process allows community to contribute and interchange ideas and activities for inclusive decision making and problem solving.

Originality/value

This research is based on both primary and secondary data and original in case of its findings and conclusion.

Keywords

Citation

Pandey, C.L. (2019), "Making communities disaster resilient: Challenges and prospects for community engagement in Nepal", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 106-118. https://doi.org/10.1108/DPM-05-2018-0156

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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