Nepali officials on a study tour of New Zealand, have been impressed by Kiwi authorities and agencies’ response to the earthquakes in Canterbury and Kaikoura and their generosity in sharing their experiences.
A 20-strong delegation from the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), and representatives of the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, as well as the Kathmandu Metropolitan City have been in Wellington this week to meet with officials and scientists who have worked on the Government response to New Zealand’s major natural disasters
Delegation leader Dr Chandra Bahadur Shrestha said that the depth and breadth of knowledge shared by the New Zealand officials will be invaluable as Nepal continues to recover from its own 2015 disaster, when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the Gorkha area.
“We have been overwhelmed by the warmth and generosity of the New Zealand authorities and agencies to take time and share their experiences with us, and we have been impressed with how much New Zealand has achieved to deal with your own earthquakes,” said Dr Shrestha.
The visits covered a wide range of topics from engineering challenges, disaster recovery, earthquake insurance, improved science and resilience programmes.
Dr. Shrestha said that Nepal faces very similar challenges as New Zealand, but he said New Zealand was able to respond well because it had effective and well-funded Government structures in place.
“New Zealanders are fortunate to have stronger building regulations and insurance schemes like EQC to get them through a natural disaster, compared to Nepal which relies heavily on overseas support in our recovery,” said Dr Shrestha.
“After meeting with EQC, the delegation is considering how we can replicate this insurance policy of New Zealand.”
The delegation leader explained that nearly 9000 people died and over half a million buildings were destroyed in the 2015 quake and many of the 800,000 displaced people still do not have a roof over their heads, five years later.
“The meetings with our New Zealand counterparts have been invaluable and we hope that we will be able to implement many of things we have learned back home to speed up our recovery and to prepare better for a future natural disaster,” said Dr Shrestha.
The NRA study trip is supported and funded by the European Union through the Nepal EU Action for Recovery and Reconstruction (NEARR), who provide governance and technical advisory services to develop more capacity within the NRA.
The European Union (EU) is supporting the government and people of Nepal with reconstruction and recovery measures after the earthquake in 2015.
This includes a State Building Contract (budget support) of 90 million euros, and the contracting of the German Consulting Group GFA to establish a ‘Reconstruction Facility’ under the ‘Nepal EU Action for Recovery and Reconstruction’ (NEARR).
The Facility provides technical assistance, advisory services and products, and capacity development for the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), responsible for the oversight and coordination of the earthquake recovery and reconstruction process.