Nepal local bodies train people to save lives during disaster

The SUPER project has been launched in Dhangadi and Nepalgunj Sub-Metropolitan city, Amargadhi, Jay Prithivi Municipality since August of 2021 coordinating with local levels…reports Asian Lite News

Faheen Salmani, a 20-year-old woman, is hailed as a saviour in her locality after the incident of controlled gas-leakage, saving locality and adjoining District Jail.

The shared knowledge about fire control training which she got to know from her mother and its practical implementation helped douse the fire, saving lives and properties.

“My mother was attending training at Madrasa where she was taught about controlling the kitchen fire. She used to brief me about the learnings and demonstrations shown there like if a cooking gas cylinder catches fire it should be doused off by covering it with a wet cloth or placing a bucket over it,” Salmani said.

“Coincidently, a few days later father brought a new cylinder home, in due course of time while fitting the regulator on top of the gas cylinder it caught fire. I was in my room and everyone was panicking outside, they forgot the way to control and douse the fire. I enacted the learnings passed on from my mother and doused the fire by rounding a wet shawl over the cylinder,” Salmani recalled the day of the incident.

Faheen’s mother, Nazma had undergone training about controlling kitchen fires which was undertaken at Dhangadhi Sub-Metropolitan City’s co-ordination under the Strengthening Urban Preparedness, Earthquake Preparedness and Response in Western Region of Nepal (SUPER) project.

But when the incident occurred she fretted but Faheen came forward executing the knowledge provided by her mother which saved the community.

“I was panicking also her (Faheen) father, as the cylinder was on fire. But those things which I earlier had shared with her, she remembered and acted quickly. She also asked us not to panic and following the instructions which I was given during training doused the fire,” Nazma told ANI as she sat on her Charpai where she was resting on the day of the incident.

The SUPER project has been launched in Dhangadi and Nepalgunj Sub-Metropolitan city, Amargadhi, Jay Prithivi Municipality since August of 2021 coordinating with local levels. It is being funded by the European Union with UNDP, UNICEF and UN Women working as consortium members.

According to reports, around 265,000 people die due to fire-related incidents in the world. More than half of them are from South and Southeast Asia. According to estimated data in 2008, around 55,000 people are affected by fire-related incidents every year. Out of these, around 2,100 people die every year in Nepal.

Most of these incidents have happened in the kitchen. People have been injured while cooking in open fires where women’s and men’s clothes have caught fire. “The scene that took place in my home came to the attention of everyone and my actions were spread out to others which indeed is beneficial for others as well,” added Faheen.

Data from Nepal’s Ministry of Home Affairs (1971- 2018) revealed that in the last 50 or so years there has been a total of 12,694 fire incidents that have killed 1,755 and injured 2,176 individuals, affected 265,962 families, and damaged 90,044 houses.

In 2018 alone, 87 people were killed and 342 injured in 2,478 fire incidents. In addition, 1,857 houses were destroyed and 291 damaged, causing a financial loss of around 3.96 billion. The estimated property loss associated with climate-induced disasters was approximately NPR 6.84 billion, and about 94 per cent of that loss can be attributed to fire incidents.

According to data from the Provincial Emergency Operation Centre in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Law, in Sudurpaschim Province, the province recorded approximately 194 fire-related incidents from July/August 2021 till August, 2022.

“Female members of the family are more bound to work in the kitchen and the incidents of fire are on the rise at the time of floods also the women, children and elderlies need to be alerted before. This SUPER project has helped people a lot when it comes to the phase of exercising,” Kandakala Kumari Rana, the deputy mayor of Dhangadhi sub-metropolitan city told ANI.

The Dhangadi Sub-metropolitan city has been operating Municipal Emergency Operation Center to deal with instances other than the fire which runs high during the summer season, floods and heavy rain during monsoon amongst others.

Dhangadhi which is the provincial capital of Sudurpaschim (Far-Western) Province of Nepal hosts most non-engineered houses which stand dangerously close to one another, facing imminent disaster threats.

Looking at the imminent threat, the Sub-metropolitan has established a LEOC (Local Emergency Operation Center) which aims to collect and disseminate right information to the public at the time of disaster.

The LEOC room hosts members of fire brigades who would quickly get into action after getting reports of fire as well as the weather monitoring desk which at the time of monsoon would give early warning to people and other possible disasters.

The local body now has hundreds of trained personnel to work in the field of disaster risk management which range from various age groups to sects of society ready to be mobilized at the time of disaster. (ANI)

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