In Kathmandu Valley, rapid urbanization fueled by migration from outlying areas is creating a risk of high casualties in the event of a disaster. Lutheran World Relief is helping communities in Kathmandu to analyze specific risks posed by potential disasters, such as fires or earthquakes, in urban contexts. These communities are receiving toolkits with supplies that will help them to respond before, during and after a disaster, as well as undertaking disaster simulations to demonstrate possible scenarios.
Amir Maharjan, who was elected to lead the disaster management committee in his community of Lalitpur, recognizes the challenges in his own neighborhood. “We are very congested and people are living in old houses,” he says, adding that there are many poorly maintained electric lines and transformers. “The roads are very narrow, barely wide enough for an ambulance or fire brigade to pass through if we have fire.”
He called the disaster risk planning workshop he attended as part of LWR’s work “a milestone” for his community. “This workshop helped us to understand more about the flow of hazard, risk, disaster and vulnerability, their types and ranking, and planning and management,” he says.