Nepal is highly vulnerable to natural disasters. Disasters such as extreme droughts, floods, landslides, fires, and epidemics affect the nation annually. Nepal’s geographic location also makes it extremely susceptible to seismic activity from the nearby Indian and Tibetan plates. Additionally, Nepal’s mountainous landscape contributes to challenges in the improvement and further development of the transportation and utilities sectors in the country. The Himalayan Mountains extend in the northern region of Nepal along with other high mountains and create physical barriers to development. Transportation is limited in rural areas where roads are underdeveloped and Nepal relies heavily on India for transit facilities. The southern regions of Nepal consist of low-lying plains and rivers originating from the mountains which contribute to annual flooding. The country’s vulnerability to disasters is associated with poor human development indicators, increased population in urban areas, conflict, and poor infrastructure due to disparities in the implementation of building codes, and climate change.
The Government of Nepal is working progressively to advance the nation’s disaster resiliency. Preparedness has become a national priority. Through the enactment of the Natural Calamity Relief Act, the Central Natural Disaster Relief Committee is the primary committee to implement policies and programs for disaster response in Nepal. Additionally, relief committees exist at all levels in the Nepalese government and coordination occurs amid all levels of the government. Climate change presents extreme challenges for Nepal. Globally, the nation ranks fourth with regards to climate vulnerability due to its exposure to natural hazards and varying weather patterns. Climate assessments of the nation predict increased climate variability and frequency in disaster events. The Government of Nepal recognizes the urgency in addressing climate change concerns and has implemented policy changes and climate change programs. Historically, Nepal has been prone to significant disasters resulting in mass destruction and claiming thousands of lives. Most recently, on 25 April 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck in the Gorkha District (located 81 kilometers northwest of Kathmandu) and resulted in the loss of life of thousands of Nepalese residents. The earthquake affected over 50 districts in Nepal and caused an avalanche on Mount Everest killing at least 20 people and injuring hundreds more. This earthquake was recorded as the most significant disaster to affect Nepal since the earthquake of 1934.