Tragedy in Nepal

The Green Cross International team extend our heartfelt support and most sincere condolences to the people of Nepal following this weekend’s terrible earthquake and its ongoing aftermath. We sympathise with those impacted by the disaster, their families and loved ones.

Green Cross’ work at the nexus between environment, security and development has inevitably made disaster response and preparedness a recurring concern in our work. We recognize the need, especially in places like Nepal that have always been vulnerable to natural catastrophes, to always push for better, smarter disaster preparedness and response to build more resilient communities.

The world has seen a dramatic increase in the frequency and magnitude of natural and manmade disasters, which severely affect lives, livelihoods and the environment. Disasters and emergencies kill and displace many people, and cause substantial economic, social and environmental damage. The impact of such events, including degradation of vital ecosystems, also undermines sustainable development.

Given Nepal’s geography, infrastructure – transport in particular – has always been difficult to build and maintain. This puts supply systems, such as food distribution, at constant risk from disasters. Sustainable, adapted solutions for rebuilding infrastructure are essential. However significant the emergency aid that countries and institutions commit to now, mitigating the consequences of natural disasters calls for systemic and coordinated efforts at all levels.

Local communities are at the forefront of any response to such emergencies, including manmade industrial and technological disasters. Reducing risk at the local level is, therefore, fundamental.

Green Cross International (GCI) has a long history of addressing the consequences of disasters, such as the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear catastrophes, and the rebuilding of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.