19th-22nd November 2015, Kathmandu, Nepal
Shape South Asia
Building Sustainable Cities
Disaster Recovery and Management
The recent 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal on the 25th of April, 2015, left a wide swath of devastation. The lack of coordination and planning in emergency first response and medium and long-term rehabilitation in the aftermath of the earthquake caused even more panic and despair in a country that had just suffered one of the worst natural disaster in its history. Although natural disasters are inevitable, there are lessons to be learnt about disaster preparedness. Starring 100+ Global Shapers, Shape South Asia is a two-day gathering to discuss ideas for developing disaster resilient cities and future preparedness.
Despite the absence of proper infrastructure, resources, and immediate support from the government and large aid agencies, the stories of youth coming together to protect, rehabilitate, and rebuild the lives of many in the aftermath of the earthquake have been inspiring. It is evident that the youth have a big role to play in not only rebuilding cities post-disaster but also actively engage in preparing the cities of tomorrow if they were ever confronted with natural disasters of such scale.
Heritage and Identity
South Asian countries share cultural affinity, whereby, our shared heritage holds the key in understanding who we are and how our societies evolved. Cultural relics, buildings, and artifacts have become an integral part of South Asian cities, where the ancient and the modern have found a way to co-exist. It is for the youth envision new ways to preserve this heritage and to pass on the legacy to future generations.
Health and Education Systems
Health and Education systems are the backbone of all cities. In case of large-scale emergencies, a city needs to have adequate health facilities for first response. In addition, a functioning educational system should also be in place so that children can continue their education despite the occurrence of natural disasters. Our goal is to engage with other Shapers on the challenges of post disaster medical relief and strengthening educational systems.
Governance and Infrastructure
In response to the quake, there were many heroic stories about how the armed forces and police carried out planned rescue and aid distribution missions. Although the security forces responded efficiently, other government agencies faced challenges in fulfilling their roles. Most South Asian cities face issues of weak governance at times of crisis. We will conduct an exchange with government bodies and shapers on how to better coordinate government efforts in the aftermath of such disasters.
Businesses, be it small or large, are going to suffer losses in the aftermath of natural disasters. Nepal alone suffered economic losses of more than US$ 2 billion due to the earthquake. Although the road to recovery will be long, we aim to develop adequate measures by interacting with the public and private sectors to get the economy back on track.