Enhancing SAARC disaster management: a comparative study with ASEAN coordinating centre for humanitarian assistance on disaster management
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The devastating earthquakes that ravaged Nepal in the spring of 2015 demonstrated the risk of disaster that affects all of South Asia. They also demonstrated the real limits to a regional disaster management and response. According to The Kathmandu Post, almost 4175 troops from 18 countries were deployed for rescue and relief operations. All South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member states except Afghanistan and Maldives rushed to help in the Nepalese tragedy. SAARC had no plan for this response mode of transporting relief materials. The lack of a pre-coordinated plan or resource management created tensions even in the capital Kathmandu. The situation in remote areas, where the road links were damaged and helicopters were the only mode of transporting relief materials, was even worse. The elements of a more effective structure for disaster response in the region may be at hand within SAARC. Political leaders all voice their support for regional effort to respond to or mitigate the frequent natural disasters in South Asia, but SAARC has not been able to establish strong institutions for coordinated response to higher magnitude disasters. This thesis examines why SAARC has not been able to form or sustain a strong disaster management organization and, based in part on other regions’ experiences with coordinated disaster management, which elements would contribute to a more effective regional disaster management within SAARC framework.
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