Nepal’s diverse geo-climatic system, which combines heavy monsoons, steep terrain, and remoteness, renders the country vulnerable to natural disasters. The impact of disasters is pronounced in marginal populations, who are already hampered by poverty and disempowerment. Nepal is most at risk to floods, including Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFS), landslides, droughts, and waterborne diseases.
This section provides a summary of key natural hazards and their associated socioeconomic impacts in a given country. It allows for a quick evaluation of most vulnerable areas through the spatial comparison of natural hazard data with development data, thereby identifying exposed livelihoods and natural systems.
The charts provide overview of the most frequent natural disaster in a given country and understand the impacts of those disasters on human populations.
Climate change is now recognized to have a significant impact on disaster management efforts and pose a significant threat to the efforts to meet the growing needs of the most vulnerable populations. The demands of disaster risk management are such that concise, clear, and reliable information is crucial. The information presented here offers insight into the frequency, impact and occurrence of natural hazards. Source (PDF)
Understanding natural hazard occurrence as well as historical climate conditions, in relation to development contexts, is critical to understanding a country’s historical vulnerability. This tool allows the visualization of different natural hazards or historical climate conditions with socio-economic and development datasets. Select the Development Context and either a Natural Hazard or Climate Condition and overlay horizontally by sliding the toggle left or right to gain a broader sense of historically vulnerable areas.
Data presented under Historical Climate Conditions are reanalysis products derived from ERA5-Land data. ERA5-Land is a global land-surface dataset at 9 km resolution, consistent with atmospheric data from the ERA5 reanalysis from 1950 onward. Climate reanalyses combine past observations with models to generate consistent time series of multiple climate variables. They provide a comprehensive description of the observed climate as it has evolved during recent decades, on 3D grids at sub-daily intervals.
This data has been collected, aggregated and processed by the Climate Resilience Cluster of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) initiative.
- Flood events are triggered by rapid snow and ice melt in the mountains as well as by extreme, torrential rainfall episodes in the foothills during the monsoon season (June-September). Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFS) are also a major concern.
- Landslides are also triggered by rapid snow and ice melt in the mountains as well as by extreme, torrential rainfall episodes in the foothills during the monsoon season (June-September).
- Droughts are becoming more frequent occurrences in Nepal, particularly during the winter months and in the western Terai plains, which are already characteristically quite dry because of the late arrival of the monsoons.
- According to the United Nation's 2007 Common Country Assessment for Nepal, epidemics such as cholera and diarrhea (diseases manifested from poor water quality) take the largest human toll in Nepal every year.
More information on natural hazards can be found at ThinkHazard.
- The impact of climate change on Nepal’s water resources is unclear due to the uncertain behavior of glaciers. According to some estimates, roughly 20% of glacier mass could be lost with a 1°C increase in temperature. These projections however, are still subject to debate.
- When monsoon rainfalls falls below normal, the following months of drier conditions will reduce rice cultivation.
- Droughts are risk factors for hydropower generation in the country, particularly in relation to minimum-flow requirements during drought years.
- According to the United Nation’s 2007 Common Country Assessment for Nepal, epidemics such as cholera and diarrhea (diseases manifested from poor water quality) take the largest human toll in Nepal every year. These are compounded by a lack of health facilities and medicine, widespread poverty, and a common lack of hygiene awareness.
- Floods and droughts have the potential to reduce yields or destroy crops altogether. In some cases these impacts are immediate, but they can also wreak havoc on the longer term by increasing topsoil erosion. This, in turn, aggravates issues of food security, including malnutrition, which increases people’s vulnerability.