Digital and spatial technologies for disaster governance in Nepal

Nepal is highly vulnerable to substantial natural hazards, including earthquakes, floods, drought, and landslides. However, the country has historically lacked disaggregated spatial information for disaster risk assessment. Due to recent federal restructuring of the country’s administrative units, there is a greater need for more spatially disaggregated and real-time data to help local agencies bring a more integrated and collaborative approach toward disaster risk planning and management.

This Data Innovation Fund project, “Digital and Spatial Technologies for Disaster Governance”, considered possible options for the development of analytical models to use readily available open data sources (including open geospatial mapping) and open computing resources to inform disaster risk assessments and preparedness strategies in two selected urban municipalities (Rajapur, Tikapur) and two selected rural municipalities (Bitthadchir, Budiganga).  The lead organization, Practical Action Consulting, identified and evaluated data collection methods already deployed to assess their use and effectiveness, and worked with existing natural hazard data.

Key results of the project included:

  • Piloting an approach of using open data, analytical models, and cloud computing resources to better understand the impacts of landslides and floods in four urban/rural municipalities of Nepal

  • Developing a private repository to access the available open data, their sources, and different analytical models

  • Developing a risk assessment platform (using data from the repository) to assess the risks of natural hazards

The pilot assessment was conducted in a GIS-based web platform, using Google Earth Engine in the backend to process different data layers on hazards, exposures, and vulnerabilities for generating risk information on specific hazards. The platform allows users to input specific datasets, define assessment criteria, and produce results for a selected local administrative unit using a multi-criteria evaluation method. This approach was instrumental for conducting local-level risk assessments of floods and landslides. Results produced from the study sites indicated the potential for scaling up this approach to other locations.

Relevant Sustainable Development Goals include: 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), and 13 (Climate Action).

Final Report

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