The South Asian region especially the Indian sub-continent is highly vulnerable to multiple hazards. The region is highly vulnerable to various natural hazards such as earthquakes, floods, landslides, thunderstorms, tsunami, drought, etc. On the other hand, the region is also susceptible to a number of human-induced hazards. With Climate Change at its peak, the region continues to suffer the loss of life and property almost every year.
The Indian Plate Boundary has a prominent system of mountains running for thousands of kilometers which is known as the Himalayas. The entire region from Afghanistan till Myanmar is highly susceptible to a number of hazards. These hazards are putting the Himalayan nations of Nepal and Bhutan also at potential risk.
GeoHazards Society (GHS) along with its global partner GeoHazards International (GHI) is committed to working towards reducing risk due to such hazards in the region and has been supporting various agencies both government and international in the region.
GeoHazards International along with GeoHazards Society assisted UNHABITAT in Myanmar in the Non-Structural Risk Assessment of two major regional hospitals in Yangon and Mandalay.
As part of the project, a team of GHS and GHI experts visited the hospitals and conducted a detailed assessment of critical facilities of both the hospitals and submitted a report of findings and solutions to UNHABITAT and presented the findings in fact-finding workshops with both the hospitals and members of the ministry of health, Govt of Myanmar.
GHI has been working with Nepal for over two decades and was one of the first organizations to ever develop a scenario for an earthquake and landslide hazards to assist the government plan for the future course of action.
Post-Earthquake Damage Assessment
Following the devastating earthquake of 2015, members of GHI participated in a study organized by EERI to study the impact of the earthquake on hospitals.
Development of Earthquake Scenario
In the wake of the 2015 Nepal earthquake, GHI assisted Nepal in a project named PAHAL. GHI helped in creating an earthquake scenario for the far western part of Nepal bordering India and China. The GHI team was assisted by members of GHS in this two-year long process which resulted in the development of earthquake scenarios for the Mid-West and Far-West region of Nepal wherein detail of effects of an earthquake and landslides on various critical infrastructure and the key role of the line departments and facilities were assessed.
Since 1937, Bhutan has experienced 10 earthquakes of magnitude 6 or larger, including the most recent damaging earthquakes in 2009 and 2011. The last two events resulted in damages to 153 schools and an estimated loss of more than 650 million Ngultrums in the education sector alone. The Mongar earthquake of September 21, 2009, fortunately, fell on a religious holiday, and children were not in schools during the earthquake. Similarly, the Sikkim earthquake on 18 September 2011 occurred on a Sunday evening, and children were not present in schools.
National Action Plan for Bhutan:
During a partnership initiative of GHI and GFDRR, GHI and GHS collaborated and helped the Government of Bhutan to formulate the National Action Plan for Earthquake Safety of Health Facilities & National Action Plan for School Earthquake Safety.
GHI along with GHS also helped in formulating the country’s first Non-structural risk (Falling Hazards) mitigation manual for schools in collaboration with the Department of Disaster Management and the Department of Education, Royal Govt of Bhutan. The manual helps schools identify potential non-structural (falling hazards) within school and outside. The manual also guides them with simple mitigation solutions that they can adapt to reduce non-structural risks. s. The manual is being used by the education department and multiple agencies working in the field of education in the region. Click here to view the manual.
GHS also assisted GHI in a series of seismic risk assessment of three hospitals in Bhutan. As part of the project a comprehensive disaster preparedness plan for the Jigme Dorjee Wangchuk, National Referral Hospital in Thimpu was prepared followed by a tabletop exercise where the hospital administration discussed, in brief of their response to a hypothetical disaster scenario. On finalizing the plan a mass preparedness drill was organized at the hospital to understand the preparedness level of the hospital to respond to a disaster scenario.
Annual Bhutan School Preparedness Drill 2013
GeoHazards Society (GHS) along with GeoHazards International partnered with the Royal Government of Bhutan to organize a Mass Preparedness Drill in All Schools of Bhutan. On 20th September at 10:15 am all schools of Bhutan participated in an Earthquake Preparedness drill to commemorate the 4th anniversary of the Mongar earthquake (2009). This was the first of its kind drill in the world where all schools of the entire nation participated. GHS provided technical support to the event which was administered by the Ministry of Education and Department of Disaster Management of Bhutan and Geohazards staff with financial assistance from the Embassy of the Czech Republic in New Delhi.