From 9 to 13 June, disaster management officials from across the Hindu Kush Himalayan region attended training on multi-level flood risk mapping jointly organized by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) under the framework of SERVIR-Himalaya, and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). SERVIR-Himalaya is funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Despite the high frequency of natural hazards in the HKH region, there is a lack of policy support for disaster risk reduction. Training professionals in disaster risk management will contribute to creating a bridge between scientific knowledge on disaster risk reduction and policy makers. The training will help equip disaster management professionals working in Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan with the tools needed to mainstream disaster risk reduction in development planning.
Participants of the training on multi-level flood risk mapping.
Basanta Shrestha, Director for Strategic Cooperation at ICIMOD, called for the integration of disaster risk reduction frameworks in development planning in the Hindu Kush Himalayas, a region highly vulnerable to disasters. He emphasized the role of space technology in disaster management in terms of predicting risk assessment and risk reduction. ”Evolving technologies that use advanced satellite imagery to support decision making need to be put into the hands of people who make decisions that support disaster risk reduction”, he said.
Dr Shirish Raven, Head of the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER), encouraged participants to take advantage of the technical resources available from ICIMOD. He added that the participants in the training must take lessons from the training forward and share them among relevant stakeholders in their respective countries.
In addition to training on flood risk mapping, participants were trained on methods and approach for mapping landslide hazards, which are common in the mountains of the region. They also took part in hands-on exercises.
Mandira Shrestha, Programme Coordinator of HKH-HYCOS at ICIMOD, and other participants from the region take part in hands-on exercises on multi-level flood risk mapping.
Pelden Zangmo from Bhutan’s Department of Disaster Management shared lessons from the training. “The lessons I have learned about multi-risk flood mapping will enable me to facilitate coordination between divisions and agencies within our department. With this knowledge, I can also play a role in changing the outlook within policy and decision making processes with regards to disaster risk reduction”, she said.
Atif Irshad, a meteorologist from Pakistan’s Flood Forecasting Division said, “Currently, we use other methods for risk analysis and hazard mapping. This training is a good opportunity to learn from the experience of others and will enable us to apply new methods in our ongoing risk assessment project”, he said.
Resource persons from the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), India, and the National Disaster Reduction Center of China (NDRCC) contributed to the training event.