Kathmandu, 14 Dec – IOM and Changu Narayan Municipality in Bhaktapur District have begun work on a multi-purpose evacuation center to accommodate displaced people in the event of a disaster.
The initiative is part of an IOM project: “People to People Support for Building Community Resilience through Recovery and Reconstruction in Nepal (P2P)” funded by the Royal Thai Government.
Thai Ambassador to Nepal Bhakavat Tanskul, IOM Chief of Mission Paul Norton and Changu Narayan Municipality Mayor Som Prasad Mishra attended the groundbreaking ceremony, which took place today (14/12) at Helmet Danda, Bhaktapur. District officials and representatives of the Ministry of Urban Development, the Armed Forces and the community also took part.
Addressing the event Ambassador Tanskul said, “Today’s ground breaking ceremony for the construction of a multipurpose community center in Changu Narayan Municipality is an auspicious moment for our two countries for it represents Thailand’s support to strengthen disaster risk reduction and empowering Nepali people in disaster -prone area”.
"It is my honor to mention that the fund for this project came from the donation of Thai people to help Nepal recover from the earthquake 2015."
“Post-earthquake reconstruction work in Nepal is an opportunity to incorporate risk reduction measures, while rebuilding damaged infrastructure to eliminate pre-existing vulnerabilities. We have to increase resilience to future hazards in this highly disaster-prone country,” said IOM Chief of Mission Paul Norton, speaking at the event.
“This pre-designated, multi-hazard resistant community center will be used to host displaced people, giving priority to the most vulnerable, including pregnant women, children, people with special needs and the elderly,” he added.
The center will also serve as a venue for community activities, including women’s and youth groups, community-based training, recreational pursuits, adult literacy classes, information dissemination and income generating activities.
The 2015 earthquakes in Nepal displaced approximately 2.8 million people. Some 117,700 people in the 14 worst affected districts were forced to find shelter in makeshift camps.
In the Kathmandu Valley open spaces previously identified by the authorities with support from IOM immediately became camp cities. Some remaining infrastructure such as schools and community buildings were also used for immediate shelter, medical and humanitarian assistance.
Changu Narayan Municipality Mayor Som Prasad Mishra said that the evacuation center would be another stepping stone towards his municipality’s commitment to build a disaster-resilient community. He thanked Thailand and IOM for their support for the municipality’s disaster preparedness, disaster risk reduction and resilience efforts.
IOM plans to build similar multi-purpose structures in seven other municipalities in earthquake affected districts - Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Gorkha, Dhading, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchowk and Dolakha. UNDP and other humanitarian agencies have agreed to provide water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.