Team returns bearing lessons from Sichuan

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Dec 8, 2015-

A nine-member government team has returned from a week-long observation visit to China on post-earthquake disaster management in Sichuan province that was hit by a devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake in 2008. 

The Sichuan Coalfield Geological Bureau in China had invited the Nepali authority to share experiences and lessons learnt from the post-earthquake disaster. The officials representing the Home, Foreign Affairs and Defence ministries as well as Department of Mines and Geology visited the province from November 27 to December 4, said Sarbajeet Mahato, director general at the DoMG, a member of the visiting Nepali team.

“The visit was focused on the area destroyed by earthquake and how the local authorities and stakeholders have worked together to rebuild Sichuan after the devastation,” said Mahato. During the visit, the authorities visited sites where the Chinese government had taken measures to control landslides by building retaining walls and promoted greenery in areas vulnerable to earthquake and quake-related disasters. 

The Chinese authorities have stopped constructing buildings and infrastructure in the areas identified as vulnerable to disasters which could be replicated in our context, Mahato said. 

In Nepal, almost nine months have passed since the April 25 earthquake, yet the government has failed to establish National Reconstruction Authority that was expected to lead the reconstruction and rebuilding post earthquake. The delay in forming a dedicated institution to look over disaster management has compounded the misery of hundreds of quake-affected families in the country. 

“The trip was a good learning experience for our planners. As technical experts, we have an idea of how the planning should be done in accordance with disaster management, but it’s planners who are responsible for the implementation,” he said. Discussions are going on to use know-how of Chinese authorities in disaster management and rebuilding after earthquake in Sichuan, according to an official who was also part of the government team. The team is expected to submit a field report to the government within a week.

Published: 08-12-2015 08:25

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