The Indian Himalayas represent one of the world’s most disaster-vulnerable zones, prone to multiple and varying types of hazards across locations and seasons. Warming in the region is up to three times the global average, and climate change is exacerbating the threat, with floods and landslides increasing exponentially in the last three decades. Poor infrastructure and endemic poverty leave isolated rural communities particularly vulnerable to the impact of disasters, and the region displays very low resilience, with no reduction in the disaster death toll year upon year. The region’s poor infrastructure also constrains the effectiveness of relief and rehabilitation work.
Disaster Management System (DMS) Himalaya is a package that empowers remote communities to take charge of disaster management at the local level, spanning both pre- and post-disaster stages, and enabling communities to work in seamless collaboration with government.
Existing humanitarian practice in the region sees disaster management as the exclusive domain of government authorities. Yet there is an information gap between remote communities and local authorities concerning disasters. In combination with large distances, challenging terrain and weather conditions, the existing practice results in slow disaster response and inefficient allocation of disaster management resources.
The DMS-Himalaya re-imagines the traditional roles and responsibilities in disaster management. It builds capacity at every point in the disaster management chain, leveraging local resources and networking communities, responders and government for enhanced disaster risk reduction and streamlined response – saving resources, livelihoods and lives.
The journey to scale will confirm the hazard profiles of the Indian Himalayan regions in which the DMS-Himalaya model is yet to be tested. This will enable components of the innovation to be fine-tuned to these hazard profiles at a local level and tested accordingly.
The testing will generate evidence of the effectiveness of DMS-Himalaya across a diverse range of hazards spanning 3 Himalayan Zones, and demonstrate its superiority to other disaster management models, supporting its further adoption.
The scaling will establish 12 communities of practice with streamlined disaster response networks comprising trained local youth Disaster Response Teams, localised weather and geological data monitoring, local and district disaster communications posts, district resource directories, and a locally-customised app.
Pragya will publish a paper on its learnings to share with the wider humanitarian sector, and conduct a national-level seminar in India to promote findings with the disaster management community.
Read Pragya's first blog about how they are scaling up the DMS HImalayaView
In this update, we’re going to take a closer look at the innovation’s early warning system, which combines a citizen science programme of grassroots weather, hydrology, and hazard monitoring – facilitated by the DMS Himalaya App – with a network of automated weather monitoring stationsView
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