Nepal is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, with earthquakes, landslides, floods, extreme weather, droughts, glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs), and fires. Earthquakes and landslides account for the most disaster fatalities.
Located in the Himalaya, Nepal’s topography includes low-lying plains, the “middle hills,” and the world’s tallest mountains--and major geological hazards. Landslides are frequent, triggered by seasonal heavy rains, excavations cut into fragile slopes, and earthquakes.
Recurring activity along the Main Himalayan Thrust fault, which has given rise to Nepal’s great mountains, can cause earthquakes greater than magnitude 8.0.
The country is still recovering from the 2015 M7.8 Gorkha earthquake that took nearly 9,000 lives.
Cascading disasters have exacerbated poverty as well as gender and social inequities. A large proportion of the population depends on agricultural and forestry livelihoods, which means that future climatic variations could threaten food security of millions of people.
Despite these vulnerabilities, there is optimism. A constitution adopted in 2015 created a federalized structure, and new national, state and local governments present opportunities to substantively address hazards. The National Disaster Risk Reduction Policy (2018) is Nepal’s first policy aimed at long-term disaster management at every level.
GeoHazards International in Nepal: Nepal staff members have been based in Kathmandu and Dadeldhura since 2016. Our programs are building capabilities in risk-sensitive development, risk mitigation, earthquake-resistant construction, school seismic safety, and disaster readiness of Nepal’s health facilities. Beginning with the Kathmandu Valley Earthquake Risk Management Plan 1997-2000, we continue to focus on resilience both in communities and at the national level.