What works in Disaster Risk Reduction?
What works in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Does Disaster Risk Reduction training make any difference to survival
and recovery following disasters? It’s a good question to ask in the
aftermath of the April earthquake, especially as UMN is now busy
planning its second phase of earthquake response activities, including
preparation for disasters. What kinds of activities can we support that
will strengthen resilience and help people and communities survive the
disaster and recover more quickly afterwards?
Here is a simple
example from North Dhading, where UMN has been conducting Disaster Risk
Reduction training and discussions for several years.

Tamang of Reegaun in North Dhading is a pastor and social worker at Ibi
Church. He is also a member of Himalayan Community Salvation Society
(HIMS-Nepal), one of UMN’s partners.

UMN and HIMS Nepal
conducted a two-day training on Disaster Risk Reduction in the third
week of March 2015. Church leaders, pastors and members of about 10
churches in Reegaun, Lapa and Jharlang actively participated in this
training. Disaster management committees and sub-committees were formed
in three churches, Tenchet Church, Ibi Church and Sangyung Church. The
main disaster management committee was formed to mobilise local
resources for preparedness and post-disaster work. Other sub-committees
formed were the First Aid Committee, the Relief & Rescue Committee
and the Emergency Fund-raising Sub-committee.

Participants from
the training about disaster risk reduction, including how to save lives
during an earthquake, shared what they had learned with church members.
Salmone said that he was right in the middle of sharing about the DRR
training on Saturday April 25, when suddenly the massive earthquake hit
and Ibi Church completely collapsed. He said: “I am really grateful to
UMN for providing this training for us, because our church members,
including me, saved our lives by sitting below windows and main door.”
This is what they had been taught at the DRR training.

Tamang is an active member of Tenchet Church. When UMN’s Disaster
Response Manager Binod Awale met with Aman Tamang, he said the same
things. There, church leaders and the pastor had already delivered the
learning from the training. According to Aman, 8-10 members of the
church who were participating in the Saturday fellowship saved their
lives by crouching under doors and windows. Aman also gave many thanks
to UMN providing this training.
UMN’s Integral Mission Disaster
Management programme was introduced in Dhading in 2012-13. Church
members were trained in Disaster Management from a biblical perspective.
They were also trained in Light Search and Rescue. During the 25 April
earthquake more, than 70 people died and many were injured in Ree VDC.
Solomon Tamang  said, “The community  felt that they need to help in
this time of need, as they had read Matthew 24 from the Bible during
IMDM workshop. They were able to rescue more than 40 people from the
debris, saving many lives, and were involved in  helping people by using
their skills in light search and rescue. Injured people were taken to
the hospital via chopper. The stretcher that had been provided to the
community was a great help.”

As UMN continues with its
assessments in the badly-affected North Dhading area, we will continue
to watch out for evidence of the effectiveness of our Disaster Risk
Reduction work. This will help make our training and preparation work
more useful in the future.

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