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UK announces new support for earthquake preparedness in Nepal

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The UK Department for International Development today announces new funding support for earthquake preparedness in Nepal.

DFID’s new disaster preparedness programme will strengthen Government of Nepal’s disaster risk management policy and support improved building code compliance. It will scale up community-based activities to build the resilience of 4 million people to earthquakes and other disasters. It will reconstruct at least 162 schools damaged in the Sikkim earthquake in September 2011, and develop a national plan to improve the seismic safety of hospitals. DFID support will also improve preparedness for a national and international emergency response and train 4,000 volunteers across Nepal in search and rescue and first aid. DFID will provide up to $26m (equivalent to Rs 2 billion) over four years.

The Rt Hon Alan Duncan, UK Minister of State for International Development, who has been closely involved throughout the development of the new programme, said: “I have been extremely focused on the earthquake risk in Nepal since my first visit to Nepal as a UK Minister. An earthquake in Kathmandu has all the components of a cataclysmic tragedy. This is a risk that the UK cannot ignore.

“I am very pleased to announce this package of UK funding to improve national disaster management and emergency response capacity and reduce the vulnerability of 4 million people to disasters. This is part of an increased focus on disasters as a new and vital part of DFID’s work.

“As we commemorate the anniversary of the great earthquake of 1934 in Nepal, and the second anniversary of the Haiti Earthquake, we should be asking ourselves now what we can do to reduce the risk.”