Disaster Management Authority tackles its first disaster: COVID-19
The National Risk Reduction and Disaster Management Authority (DMA) was only formed in January 2020 to deal with floods and earthquakes. But it plunged headlong into a disaster no one could have predicted: the coronavirus pandemic.
Even though its office still has not got all its furniture and equipment, the DMA has its hands full dealing with mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic from affecting Nepal. Under-staffed and still not fully functional, it has been thrown off the deep end to create an emergency response plan involving various agencies of government.
“Currently, we are working on scenario based planning, and our role is to coordinate with other departments and assist them with an emergency response,” says Anil Pokhrel, CEO of the Authority.
The DMA has been getting advice and other assistance from the World Health Organisation to deal with the pandemic. After not taking the epidemic seriously at first, the high-level committee chaired by Defence Minister Ishwar Pokhrel this week banned all air travel from Europe and West Asia to Nepal, postponed the high school exams, and banned gatherings of more than 25 people.
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Said Pokhrel: “It is good news that in Nepal the virus still has not caused a big turmoil and because of that we have had time to learn the do’s and don’ts looking at other countries, I think we are now ready to fight the virus.”
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