The government has stated that it aims to enhance the reliability and credibility of weather and natural disaster information by bolstering the capabilities and resources of the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology.
Recent installations of equipment across the country have enabled the provision of real-time hydrology and meteorology data, and the Department intends to further streamline this process. Minister for Energy, Water Resources, and Irrigation, Shakti Bahadur Basnet, conveyed this during his visit to the Department.
Currently, the Department disseminates weather and river water level information to lawmakers in the House of Representatives, the National Assembly, provincial assemblies, as well as local government leaders. Additionally, it sends SMS alerts to citizens in flood and landslide-prone areas, contributing to the prevention of disasters.
Minister Basnet underscored the necessity of enhancing disaster preparedness, especially in light of erratic weather patterns and climate change-related challenges.
Currently, the Department provides 24-hour weather forecasts and issues special weather bulletins for three and seven-day forecasts. Collaboration with neighboring countries has also contributed to the reliability and accuracy of weather forecasts.
In a comment to Aawaaj last month, Dr. Basanta Raj Adhikari – Deputy Director, Centre for Disaster Studies at the Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University – stated that a Risk-Map of the whole country is a necessary foundation and that right now, there are only fragmented maps that cover small watersheds.
The monsoon floods were projected to affect more than a million Nepalese this year, and erratic rainfall has been causing landslides, damaging roads and increasing the likelihood of accidents. A reliable information system would put in place precautionary measures and help those in disaster-risk areas.