US ambassador Bodde lays foundation stone for new airport rescue station
US ambassador Peter W Bodde and secretary of Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Sushil Ghimire jointly laid the foundation stone for the new seismically safe crash rescue and fire station building at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) today.
The US government is providing assistance totaling $462,000 to build a new station and make it resistant to earthquakes. It is part of a larger effort to improve critical infrastructure that will allow the airport to remain open if a major earthquake were to occur, according to the US Embassy.
"Two of my goals as the US ambassador are to support economic growth and reduce disaster risk in Nepal," said the US ambassador in his remarks, on the occasion, that coincided with the 16th annual Earthquake Safety Day, today.
"Ultimately, we want to plan and prepare in a way that will save lives and destruction of property, lessen the impact of a disaster, and shorten the time of recovery," he said, adding that the US is committed to helping Nepal improve its emergency response capacity.
Different departments and agencies within the US government have been actively collaborating to help reduce Nepal’s risk to natural disasters.
Some of the programmes include national planning and training, hospital and warehouse retrofitting, creation of district-level emergency operations centers, support for Department of Mines and Geology, construction of seven deep bore wells for emergency drinking water, creation of educational public service announcements, and joint humanitarian assistance exercises.
The US government has also supported the construction of a seismically safe blood bank at Tribuvhan University teaching hospital, which is under construction.
In addition to working with the Nepal government, the US is working with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to pre-position emergency relief supply kits in Nepal, and with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to prepare sites that can accommodate large numbers of people displaced following a large-scale disaster.
The US is also promoting a public-private partnership for earthquake risk management. The programme seeks to demonstrate the private benefits of earthquake risk management and provide a business case for investing in risk reduction.