Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bishnu Prasad Paudel has directed security agencies to strengthen community resilience and preparedness to minimise loss of lives and property from rain-induced disasters. He also highlighted the need to formulate and implement plans giving special priority to search, rescue, and relief operations at the onset of the disaster.

Speaking at a meeting organised at the Ministry of Home Affairs today, Paudel said coordination among all government agencies, provinces, local levels and stakeholders was necessary for preparedness measures against disasters in the wake of huge loss of lives and property due to recent floods, landslides and inundation caused by incessant rainfall across the country.

Paudel claimed that the government was doing everything possible to carry out rescue and relief work for vulnerable people and those affected by the disaster. He called on the relevant agencies to combat the disaster proactively and professionally. "Prevention is better than cure. Therefore, the need of the hour is to accord more priority to preparedness than planning for post-disaster situation. Only better preparedness leads to reduced loss of lives and property," he said.

"Inter-agency coordination for relief and rescue operation counts a lot in ensuring than no victim is left behind and relief is distributed without duplication," he added. Paudel also informed that the government was preparing to come up with an integrated action plan for disaster risk reduction and management. The proposed action plan envisages chalking out a time schedule for rehabilitation and reconstruction of infrastructure damaged or destroyed by disasters.

Home Secretary Maheshwor Neupane informed that more than five billion rupees was deposited into the disaster relief fund. He assured sufficient resources and means to cope with disasters. He said the proposed action plan would incorporate activities to be conducted for recovery of loss or damage, rescue and relief, continuation of services obstructed by disaster and other result-based operations at the onset of disaster.

Anil Pokhrel, Chief Executive Officer of national Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority said it was making necessary preparations to initiate rehabilitation and reconstruction of houses and other infrastructure damaged or destroyed by recent floods and landslides. Officials from the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, National Reconstruction Authority and security agencies were also present at the meeting. According to data released by the MoHA, floods and landslides triggered by incessant rainfall across the country in the last two weeks have claimed 30 lives, while 26 others have gone missing. Similarly, 27 persons were injured.

As many as 577 houses were damaged or destroyed. Similarly, more than 3,250 people of 748 families were displaced due to flooding, while nearly 650 livestock died.

Monsoon has wreaked havoc in the very first week of its onset in the country. As the monsoon normally lasts for 105 days in the country, authorities have advised people living in lowlands and disaster prone areas to remain alert.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 2 2021, of The Himalayan Times.