AGENDA : This dying Earth is weeping so...

Natural calamities are very hard to predict even in developed countries like the US and Japan. Till date no system, which can detect natural calamities, precisely, has been developed but its effects can be minimised.

• Don’t panic

• Don’t rush down stairs

• Sit under a bed till the tremors subside

• Switch off the gas and electricity

• Carry a radio or mobile with you

If possible keep some food ready for such emergencies.

Eakprasad Duwadi

Recent reports show that an earthquake the size of the one that occurred in 1990 can destroy more than 50 per cent of the houses in the Valley. People should be warned about the consequences that a disaster like this might cause. Building houses according to certain guidelines can reduce the loss of life and property caused by earthquakes.

Dilip Dachhepati

We are no strangers to natural calamities like floods, cyclones, drought, earthquakes, etc. Sometimes disasters catch us unawares and during these times we are incapable of coping with the gigantic task of immediate relief and long-term rehabilitation.

The world must have in place a foolproof system to prevent natural disasters as much as possible and take adequate short term and long-term measures to alleviate people’s misery and to prevent derailment of the economy. The government must wake up to the need for setting up an independent department for disaster management. Cyclone-resistant and quake-resistant houses should be constructed. Remote sensing satellite and other modern technological devices can help inform us in advance about a disastrous cyclone. In case of cyclones adequate warnings can be given and evacuation of people from places likely to be affected can be undertaken. In the case of earthquakes too, it’s said that a series of minor shocks in a given region are a prelude to a major earthquake. It is

said that Nature gives enough warnings. The intensity of great tragedies can be minimised if attention is

paid to these warnings. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. The

government should appoint a high level expert committee to study in-depth the earthquake proneness of the entire country and take adequate measures.

We have to learn from the past and from those who have handled such emergencies with great foresight. For instance, China saved hundreds and thousands of lives in the February 1975 Haicheng earthquake. Scientists noticed Haicheng as a vulnerable region and intensively instrumented it. When there was unusual quiet, followed by abnormal seismic activity, the authorities sounded an alarm and the area was evacuated within hours. The death toll was limited to a three-digit figure, though the damage to property was extremely high in this earthquake that measured 7.2 on the Richter scale.

Suraj Khatri

“Life is uncertain but death is sure”. Nobody can predict natural disasters or the loss of human life and property that it brings in its wake. There are however, a few ways of minimising loss of both.

• Avoid wall system construction and promote pillar system construction instead

• Stay indoors as far as possible. But in case of a collapsing house it is better to move outdoors but with a helmet on your head

• Stop using electronic devices.


We can never defeat Nature. To take preventive measures is the best option for Asians because we are the prime victims of this kind of disaster and most of the Asian countries are below the poverty line.

Both modern technology and science are needed to act as preventive measures. According to forecasts, we, Nepalis are facing the threat of a massive earthquake in the near future. So preventive measures are all important.

Arjun Prasad Tiwari

Natural catastrophes, without doubt are invincible and inevitable. But at the same time we must keep in mind the preventive measures that can be undertaken. Prevention, like it has been said, is better than cure. Natural calamities do not occur because God’s is angry with the human race. This is but a baseless belief.

Natural disasters are unavoidable but are predictable to some extent. Whenever it is that a disaster is going to occur, the birds and animals in that surrounding area start exhibiting strange but peculiar behaviour. Fish swim vigorously, birds fly very fast in large groups; dogs start barking without any reason. If the behaviour of these animals is paid attention to in time to and safety measures are implemented many lives can be saved. Moreover, one should be aware of the necessary actions to be taken during a catastrophe. If an earthquake is to occur, run towards an open ground if possible. Or take shelter under something that you are sure will not collapse.

If a natural disaster is predicted the news must be conveyed to all at the speed of lightning through every form of media.

Vipul Kabra

Man has been experiencing the wrath of Nature since his existence. Various steps can work as preventive measures and can help reduce loss of life. We can control floods, droughts and famines if we maintain the balance of our ecology by not destroying forests and killing animals. We can also protect ourselves from earthquakes, by building quakeproof houses.

Mohan Narshingh Shrestha

Make attempts to generate a global strategy to deal with the disaster. Raise awareness among people about the necessary measures to be taken and teach them ways to cope with it. Do not overlook the changes in the ecological balance, however small it might be as these “small” changes may have large and violent effects on Nature and on living beings. Be prepared for the disaster and take no chances.

Kanhaiya Shrestha

We should not panic

• If there is a fire and smoke rides up to the ceiling we should keep our heads low as we try to get out of the place

• During earthquakes if we haven’t the time to escape we should take cover under a table or bed

• Do not hang unnecessary things on the walls and on the ceiling

• Torchlight’s, cell phones and first aid boxes should be kept handy

• Do not build houses by the sea or a riverbank

• Government and NGO should organise awareness programmes.

Subarna Shakya

The tsunami claimed the lives of more than a lakh. Disasters can strike any time. Preventive measures like afforestation and constructing dams can reduce floods and landslides. Reducing the number of vehicles and industries that produces harmful Chloro Fluro Carbon (CFC) gases can control global warming and the diminishing ozone layer. Kathmandu is the third most polluted and randomly built city in the world. Dwellers should take precautions. Hospitals, clinics and other important institutes should install alternative power supply. Practical training should be provided in schools and colleges. Victim rescue teams, emergency wards, ambulance and fire vehicles should be kept ready.

Surya Man Malakar

The loss and devastation, which can be caused in Kathmandu by an earthquake the magnitude of the recent tsunami, is horrific even to imagine. Our Valley is very vulnerable to calamities like earthquakes. Uncontrolled and unmanaged urbanisation is a bane especially at times of natural disasters. Concerned parties, specially the government authorities, should pay attention to this before it is too late.

Natural calamities don’t focus on a particular country or a group. Putting aside self-interests, establishment of an effective and co-ordinated global information system can be very fruitful. Prompt dissemination of reliable information by such mechanisms can undoubtedly contribute in reducing the level of loss caused by natural disasters. Apart from these, we should follow every possible measure to safeguard the betterment of the environment, for many kinds of natural disasters evolve out of an unfavourable environment.

Hem B Chaulagai

One simple method is planting trees. If we spend just an hour in our garden or compounds planting a tree or two one sunny weekend the outcome can be the reduction of natural disasters.

Trees prevent floods, landslides, reduce pollution and generate oxygen supply. Reforestation can play a major part in saving lives. But again it is up to us. We have to take the initiative to save our lives as we are running out of time. It is high time that we come out of our state of denial, that such disasters can’t befall us and earth can sustain more exploitation. Take a look around and you will see that our planet’s patience is running out.

Dipsana Neupane

There are many natural disasters like floods, landslides, volcanoes, earthquakes etc. To prevent these natural disasters we can to follow some preventive measures. Natural disasters are interrelated, like when there is a flood there is always the possibility of a landslide.

To prevent this we should follow preventive measures like afforestation. Overgrazing must be stopped. Since landslides occur in hilly regions, farmers should be encouraged to cultivate fruits. Landslide also can be controlled by terrace farming and by preserving forests.

However, there are some advantages of volcanoes as several useful materials like minerals, metals etc are obtained from lava.

Binod Khadka

Initiate formation of ward level disaster management committees as part of Municipality’s plans

• Raise a volunteer force from the ward itself

• Train them in basic first aid, search and rescue methods as part of Nepal Red Cross’s regular plans

• Keep them motivated through fellowship programmes

• Form a real ward level disaster plan, with possible help from Nat Soc for Earthquake Technology (NSET-Nepal)

• Create projects and seek funding

• Maintain contact with central level organisations

For the urban educated, now is the time for real community work. Reach out to the community but leave your ego at home!


To reduce the death toll during natural disasters we must draw a lesson from the recent tsunami that hit the costal regions of Asia. The impact was worsened by a shortage of food, medicine and power supply. To meet such emergencies a country should be in a state of disaster preparedness.

Government disaster centre, international aid agencies and others should operate humanitarian relief by mobilising rescue helicopters and planes for emergency food , clothing and treatment of victims. Active local participants should distribute relief materials. Rehabilitation programmes should be launched for the affected. Important buildings like hospitals and social service institutions should be equipped with renewable energy technology.

Apin Adhikari

To some extent we can prevent natural disasters by maintaining the ecological balance, constructing earthquake proof buildings and controlling global warming. Of course, it is not an easy job.

First world countries need to take responsibility because they are capable and should make resolutions and act to stop manufacturing nuclear and biological weapons, stop testing weapons and explosives on the earth as well as dispose safely all the nuclear garbage.

Besides this continuous study should be done with new technology and methods so that people can be informed in time about these disasters. The world should pay attention to generate a budget particularly for this purpose and share knowledge and information regarding this matter. Every nation needs to develop open areas like playgrounds or parks in big cities so that they can act as shelters at the time of natural disasters. At the same time firemen, helicopters, ambulances, doctors, volunteers, medicine, emergency food and the necessary equipments should be on stand by.

Manoj Shrestha

Early warning system is one of the best measures for containing the loss of life during natural calamities. This system should be made accessible where the occurrence of earthquakes is common.

Measures to check floods can be done by reforestation and planning the distribution of water to large areas. Like wise we can try to stay safe from volcanoes by not staying in places where volcanoes are active.

Sarthak Nepal

We can help minimise the loss of life caused by natural disasters by adopting some measures like

• construction of retaining walls

• terrace farming in steeper slopes

• lowering the rate of animal impact (grazing and trampling) mainly in steeper areas

• planting trees/afforestation

• adopting favourable land use practices i.e. well managed irrigation and cultivation practices

• construction of dams and embankments and regular maintenance of it

• avoiding high risk areas for settlement

• making people aware of the causes and possible measures that they can afford for the mitigation of such problems.

Natural disasters are unavoidable but if we do the right thing at the right time, the world will be a safer place to live in.

Alikid Lepcha