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Natural Resource and Disaster Risk Management

Kailali Disaster Risk Reduction Initiatives I

November 2007-April 2009
9,789 Households
Intervention geographical areas:
Kailali District, Far Western Region
Grant amount:
EURO 345,926
DG ECHO under its Fourth DIPECHO Action Plan for South Asia, with co-financing from the Artemis, UK
Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS-Kailali)

The Challenge

Nepal's geology and climate make it particularly susceptible to disasters, including floods, landslides, earthquakes, fire, drought and epidemics, ranking 11th in global vulnerability to earthquakes and 30th in vulnerability to floods (Reducing Disaster Risk, UNDP 2004). Floods and landslides are the most recurrent, claiming an average of 211 lives annually in the past ten years (UNDP, 2006) and significantly affecting livelihoods through the loss of houses, infrastructure, livestock, arable land, crops and other property. Along the Mohana River and its tributaries in the Far-Western Kailali District, regular floods cause erosion, loss of life (every 2-3yrs), livestock, houses, crops and arable land. Poor and marginalized people are especially affected by disasters due to settlement along the river banks or other unstable parcels of land and poor access to resources to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.

The Opportunity

Mercy Corps supported six high-risk riverside communities and reached out to more than more than 100,000 people in Kailali through the Kailali Disaster Risk Reduction Initiatives project. Thetarget population was characterized by poverty, lack of access to education and health facilities, low previous exposure to disaster awareness and preparedness interventions, and low levels of representation in development and disaster management agencies. Most participating households belonged to the Tharu ethnic group and their principal livelihoods strategy - subsistence agriculture and animal husbandry - is heavily impacted by flooding and erosion.

Key Interventions

The project included key interventions in the areas of : capacity building, community led preparedness plans, early warning systems, small scale mitigation measures and peer education in schools. Capacity building increased knowledge of disaster risks and the ability to prepare for and respond to disasters, resulting in the formation of Disaster Preparedness Committees (DPCs), community disaster plans, early warning systems, emergency funds and improved coordination between community members and local authorities to reduce vulnerability to disasters and improve response mechanisms. Replicable, low cost, small-scale mitigation measures, such as toe protection, bio-engineering initiatives and spurs, reduced erosion and thereby the impact of floods on households and land. Student involvement in the project was essential both in terms of raising awareness at the school and community levels and increasing disaster preparedness levels in schools.

First Aid team practicing during refresher trainingA completed spur in Bishanpur, Kailali
Door to Door campaignDoor to Door campaign