Home » Sucess Stories

Villagers in Malikarjun Stay Alert DRR

Villagers in Malikarjun Ready for Action (NOT stay alert)
The heavy downpour loudly splattered against the roof of Damodar Dhami’s house all night as he desperately waited for sunrise. He was expecting bad news from the nearby ward, which has a high risk of landslides. Finally, when the news came, it left him pale and shocked.

The area in Malikarjun VDC of Darchula district of Far-West Region that was considered as “high risk” was safe, while the area considered safe was completely wiped away, taking the life of a woman, livestock and an entire house. He, along with several other people from the Malikarjun village, rushed to help. They did everything they could to pull out the victim and console the bereaved family members. They even contributed personally to provide financial support to the family members to help them recover from their loss. “It was raining heavily and the lack of equipment made it difficult for us to remove the victim from the mudslide,” says Damodar.

This tragic incident was shocking for everyone in the village and difficult to deal with. It was only a few days before the incident when PAHAL had intervened in the VDC to help revive the Local Disaster Management Committee (LDMC) that had remain inactive. “The incident was a wake-up call for all of us and PAHAL came at the time when we needed it the most”, says Damodar. “We never received any of the disaster related training while we were the members of the past LDMC. It is different with PAHAL,” Damodar, now Vice-President of the committee, adds. The working committee of the LDMC received a three day training on disaster preparedness and management from District Disaster Relief Committee (DDRC). They also participated in a vulnerability and capacity assessment to identify the areas at risk in their village, learned ways to mitigate the risks, how to prepare for a disaster and, methods for coping with it. “We are now aware of the steps required during such situations and know whom to reach for help,” adds Damodar.

Understanding the vulnerability and capacity of the Malikarjun VDC, the Committee prepared a Local Disaster Risk Management Plan illustrating the actions required to mitigate and cope with the disasters in their community. The LDMC plans to facilitate the creation of Response Task Team for each ward and train them on search and rescue techniques. “If we can properly equip the teams, we can definitely minimize casualties during any future disasters in our village,” says Damodar.

The Local Disaster Risk Management Plan will be shared during the upcoming local planning process, which will then be put forward to the government for its endorsement through the local district office. Looking at these positive changes in their community, the LDMC members, along with the other villagers, are excited to participate actively in PAHAL activities. With PAHAL support, the villagers are now prepared for any future natural disasters. They are better organized now and have an emergency fund established, to help prepare and be ready for action.

PAHAL works with 14 DDRCs, one in each working district, to form LDMC groups and to monitor and support group activity. To date, 75 LDMC groups has been formed under the supervision of the DDRCs, with support from PAHAL. The LDMC in Malikarjun VDC consists of 26 members, which includes a representative from each ward in the VDC (there are 475 participating households in the nine wards).