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Strengthening Actions for Fostering Resilience through Early Warning and Risk Sensitive Planning in Nepal (SAFER)

Project description

SAFER Nepal is one of the projects under the DEPECHO VII funded by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection department.

The project is being implemented in Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Tanahu, Banke, Bardiya, Kailali, Kanchanpur and Dadeldhura districts of Nepal by Practical Action, Mercy Corps and Oxfam.

The specific objective of the project is to enhance the capacity of communities and relevant institutions to strengthen Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) systems and structure and replicate DRR initiatives to ensure community based risk management at local level.

The project aims to institutionalise DRR at local level by integrating and mainstreaming it into development priortising early warning system with CBDRM (Community Based Disaster Risk Management) approach through capacity building of communities and stakeholders.

The project plans to disseminate skills and knowledge on approaches and practices for planning, mainstreaming, integrating and implementing DRR for the most vulnerable communities at local level to build their capacities. The emphasis will be given for building skills and knowledge for replication so that the community themselves will be able to establish Community Based Early Warning System (CBEWS).

The Disaster Management Committee (DMC) members, local government, DEOCs (District Emergency Operation Centres), NEOC (National Emergency Operation Centre), DHM (Department of Hydrology & Meteorology), local Non Government Oranisations (NGOs), NRCS (Nepal Red Cross Society) will be targeted for capacity building. This will also include application of existing policy provisions and development of new policies that are required for DRR at local level.

The project is being implemented since 1 March 2013 and has the duration of 18 months.

The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection department is one of the world’s largest providers of financing for humanitarian aid operations. Its mandate not only includes the funding of disaster relief but also the support of disaster preparedness activities, particularly at the local level. Through its disaster preparedness programme (DIPECHO), it assists vulnerable people living in the most disaster prone regions of the world in reducing the impact of natural disasters on their lives and livelihoods.

Adaptation context

Susceptibility to a wide range of natural and human-induced hazards, combined with widespread poverty, make Nepal acutely vulnerable to disasters. Nepal is ranked 30th in terms of vulnerability to flood and 11th in the world in terms of vulnerability to earthquakes (UNDP/BCPR, 2004). Regular climatic events such as the annual monsoon bring flooding to the country’s major river systems with evidence that the impacts of climate change may be adding to the severity and frequency of these events each year. Geologically, the country is also fragile, the youth of its mountain ranges giving rise to earthquakes and other manifestations of its instability in the form of regular rock falls and landslides.These physical threats are exacerbated by widespread poverty. Nepal is placed 142nd in the Human Development Index (HDI 2007/2008). Poor individuals, families and communities possess negligible capacity to face a disaster and its consequences, according to the Nepal Strategy for Disaster Risk Management (2009).While larger scale threats are now being taken seriously throughout the country, smaller, day-to-day disasters are widespread and still largely ignored. The impact of flash floods in small catchment river basins and localised landslides affecting remote hill communities are often never even recorded in national disaster statistics.SAFER is working to address these types of threats by working with communities on complex river systems and in landslide-prone hill locations.


SAFER Nepal aims to target vulnerable communities in both hilly and Terai VDCs. The overall objective of the project is ’to reduce vulnerability, increase resilience and promote a culture of risk reduction among communities and institutions vulnerable to natural disaster in Nepal’.In Kailali and follow-up communities of Kanchanpur, where extensive experience has already been gained, the primary focus of the project has now shifted from extending and institutionalising Flood EWS in 5 more communities of two new VDCs. Similarly, the project also aims to prepare, review or update the Local Disaster Risk Management Plan as per the needs of the VDC level Disaster Risk Management Plans by using Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development guidelines. Elsewhere, eleven VDCs of Kailali and four VDCs of Kanchanpur, where Mercy Corps has worked previously, are being further supported through refresher training, the on-going development of their flood EWS and response mechanisms and the preparation, update and review of Local Disaster Risk Management Plans.At the district level, existing pre-monsoon plans and District level EWS committees are being assisted, both through the direct support of Mercy Corps and its partners the NRCS and NNSWA, and with assistance from the DH&M. Similarly, the project will be working for the establishment of a District Early Warning Operation Center (DEOC) in Kanchanpur and the strengthening of the existing DEOC in Kailali. It will also work to link the key stakeholders of early warning systems from communities to VDCs, leading to the DEOC and National Early Warning Operation Center (NEOC), which will enhance the scaling up and institutionalisation of EWS. The project also aims for the development and implementation of a joint inclusive Community Based Disaster Preparedness Model in compliance with the Local Disaster Risk Management Plan and Flagship 4’s 9 minimum characteristics. The project also has a particular focus on building up the capacity of the relevant stakeholders and use of the trained stakeholders for the establishment, enhancement and replication of EWS.At the national level, the project will be advocating for the approval of a National Early Warning Strategy and DRR mainstreaming guidelines by the Government of Nepal.In five new communities of Shankarpur and Pipaladi VDCs in Kanchanpur, the project will target the formation of CDMCs, preparation of Disaster Management Plans, forming and training various task forces and the expansion of CBEWS.

In line with SAFER’s overall approach, these interventions are being complemented by a comprehensive range of CBDRR activities, including the retro-fitting of flood-resistant hand pumps, the formation of women empowerment centres, further maintenance of bio-engineering mitigation activities, the further development of indigenous-based building technologies, which offer greater resilience and water resistance, and the establishment of emergency revolving funds. As in previously targeted communities in Kailali and Kanchanpur, these have been preceded by a range of awareness and training activities targeting both a wider population as well as schools, non-formal education groups, women and other marginalized groups.


March 2013 – August 2014


European Commission Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection (ECHO)

Local partners

Nepal Red Cross Society Kailali and Kanchanpur District Chapters (NRCS); Nepal National Social Welfare Association (NNSWA)


EURO 388,671

The SAFER project carries on from prior DRR work in Nepal including the, ‘Scaling-up Early Warning Systems in Nepal (SEWIN)‘ project implemented in Nepal.

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