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DisasterLink Country Profile: Nepal


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Nepal at a Glance

Population: 30,056,790
Major threats: Flood, Earthquake, Drought and Lightening/thunderstorm
Population affected: Farmers, Rural poor, Indigenous people, Women & Children
Location affected: Kathmandu, Sindhupalchowk, Gorkha, and the Southern plains
Industries affected: Agriculture, Tourism
Compounding issues: Livelihood, climate change, environmental degradation, WASH
World risk index ranking: 4.92
Global climate risk index: 9

Introduction

Roughly 75 percent of Nepal is covered by mountains, making the country highly exposed to natural disasters. Over the last decade, Nepal has experienced several disasters that struck the country and killed almost 9,000 people due to earthquakes and floods.

In recent years, many countries, including China, India, United Kingdom, United States, and Japan, have assisted Nepal. Even though its agriculture depends on the monsoon rain cycle between July up to September, Nepal experienced numerous landslides and floods that damaged community houses due to heavy rain. The government and international agencies have socialized prevention and mitigation to reduce losses.

Major threats and economy

Economic assistance by countries around the globe shows that Nepal is one of the most vulnerable nations in the world, highly dependent on the import of necessary materials for its agriculture products, such as fertilizers. In rural areas, the living conditions of women and children exposes them to disasters as the men in the family go abroad for work. They must therefore depend on small-scale agriculture with limited access to other livelihood options.

Climate change impacts

Hazards caused by climate change, including landslides and floods, have led to damage, loss of lives, livelihoods, and poverty. This is happening because Nepal’s economy depends on climate activities, namely agriculture, as the primary cultivation of rice and corn (maize) and forestry.

Cutting standing forest to increase the cultivation land area has caused soil erosion, resulting in reduced yields and land losses by landslides.

Climate change & its impact on women

As mentioned earlier, men leaving their families to work aboard has put women into difficult and even dangerous situations. With lack of economic resources and limited access due to their status, their living conditions decline and worsen in time of disasters, as loss of livelihoods results in increased poverty.

Hydrometeorological Vulnerability

Landslide and Flood

Disasters caused by heavy rains are frequent in Nepal, a country with mountainous topography and rivers. Thousands of people have been displaced and pushed to leave their homes. The condition sometimes worsens by the landslides that occur along with floods caused by the loss of lives, crops, and others.

Earthquake

The earthquake struck near the city of Kathmandu in Nepal on April 25, 2015. Almost 9,000 people were killed and thousands were injured. The quake that occurred in 2015 was the second-largest earthquake since 1934 that shocked Nepal and destroyed buildings in Kathmandu valley. China and Bangladesh also felt the shocks. In May 2015, another earthquake followed.

Drought

Climate change in Nepal has forced people to leave their homes due to a lack of water resources and food. Most Nepalese depend on agriculture and the impacts of climate change have made natural farming increasingly difficult.

Lightning & thunderstorm

Nepal has experienced increased lightning and thunders that led to many people’s death in recent years.

Recently, more than 274 people were killed, 330 were injured, and 70 went missing. 223 of the deaths were due to landslides and floods, while over 50 were caused by lightning/thunder.

Adaptation & Civil Society

Collaboration between the government and international agencies is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. In terms of water availability, this affects the farmer’s ability to plan ahead.

Nepal has developed a policy regarding adaptation called the National Adaptation Programs of Action to climate change (NAPA). Some of the strategies are being implemented as a community-based adaptation plan for vulnerable communities lacking the capacity to cope with disasters.

Opportunities & Recommendations to International Donors

As a landlocked country, Nepal is exposed to several disasters; while the high areas experience drought, the low-lying areas struggle with floods and landslides every year. Earthquakes are another major problem, causing disastrous hazards. Donors have the opportunity to reduce the impact and raise community awareness, supporting also in the fields of agriculture and forestry, livelihood, communication, CMDRR, advocacy, education, and WASH.

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