Evacuation centre being built for people displaced by natural disasters

Kathmandu, December 14

International Organisation for Migration Nepal in coordination with Changu Narayan Municipality, Bhaktapur, has started construction of a multi-purpose evacuation centre in the municipality.

The building will be used to shelter people displaced by natural disasters. The initiative is part of International Organisation for Migration’s project — People to People Support for Building Community Resilience through Recovery and Reconstruction in Nepal — funded by the Thai government.

Thai Ambassador to Nepal Bhakavat Tanskul, Nepal Chief of International Office for Migration Paul Norton and Changu Narayan Municipality Mayor Som Prasad Mishra attended the groundbreaking ceremony, which was organised today at Helmet Danda, Bhaktapur.

Chiefs of district offices and representatives of the Ministry of Urban Development, security personnel and community members were also present at the event.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Tanskul said that the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a multipurpose community centre in Changu Narayan Municipality was a historic moment for both the countries.  “It is my honor to mention that Thai people had donated openly to help Nepal recover from the 2015 earthquakes,” Ambassador Tanskul said.

“It is also an opportunity for Nepal to adopt risk reduction measures while rebuilding damaged infrastructures. Since Nepal lies in earthquake-prone area, it has to construct resilient infrastructures to avoid future risks,” said Nepal Chief of International Office for Migration Paul Norton.

“This multi-hazard resistant community centre will be used to shelter displaced people, giving priority to the most vulnerable groups, including pregnant women, children, people with special needs and the elderly,” he added.

The centre will also serve as a venue for community activities — community-based trainings, 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 affected districts were forced to find shelter in makeshift camps. The 7.9-magnitude earthquake, the country’s worst in over eight decades, destroyed 600,000 houses and more than 288,000 houses were damaged in the 14 worst-hit districts.

In total, 10,394 government buildings collapsed and over 13,000 were partially damaged. The quakes’ strongest impact was in remote rural areas, making the response extremely challenging.

In Kathmandu valley, open spaces had been occupied by people to set up makeshift tents and 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 the evacuation centre would be another stepping stone towards municipality’s commitment to building a disaster-resilient community.

Mayor Mishra thanked Thailand and IOM for supporting 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.