Study scientific evidence to deal with disasters, says report

Kathmandu, February 6

The UK-based Overseas Development Institute released a report recently suggesting that the events in the aftermath of natural calamities like earthquake, flooding and landslides can be better handled by studying scientific evidences.

According to a report ‘The role of scientific evidence during the 2015 Nepal earthquake relief efforts’, earthquakes cause landslide, flooding and changes in river and groundwater flow. This can be known in advance from scientific evidence collected by geologists and scientists.

Disaster managers also need to understand hazard dimensions, including location and intensity of the disaster.

The report is based on 40 in-depth interviews with disaster managers and aims to improve managers’ ability to make decisions for future emergencies and suggests to scientists to form a group to identify a focal person to facilitate coordination with government and humanitarian representatives. It also suggests the UN to appoint science officers at the regional level and donor agencies to consider funding them.

The Disaster Risk Reduction managers are suggested to identify, produce, archive and regularly update secondary data sets so as to help them make quick estimates of damage, loss and associated needs immediately after a disaster.

The report has also outlines the challenges associated with producing and using scientific information immediately after the earthquake stating that there are no ‘quick fixes’ to the challenge of making such evidence ‘useful, usable and used.’