Kathmandu, January 21
In a bid to provide immediate shelter to people displaced by natural disasters, International Organisation for Migration Nepal and Lalitpur Metropolitan City today jointly started the construction of Multipurpose Evacuation Centre in Bungmati, Lalitpur.
The evacuation centre will also serve as venue for community activities, including women and youth groups, community-based training, recreational pursuits, adult literacy classes, information dissemination and income generating activities. The initiative is funded by the Thai government.
IOM works under UN Migration Agency in the disaster risk reduction sector. IOM works, especially, to identify, protect, and manage open spaces to be used as temporary shelter for internally displaced persons during the time of disaster.
IOM has forwarded a plan to build such facilities in eight districts which were affected by the 2015 earthquakes.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony for construction of the multi-purpose evacuation centre, Valerie Julliand, UN Resident Coordinator for Nepal said Nepal was among the 20 most disaster-prone countries in the world. “It is crucial for us to be prepared to provide humanitarian assistance to displaced people and to build disaster resilient infrastructure,” he added.
The 2015 earthquakes had displaced approximately 2.8 million people. Some 117,700 people in the 14 worst affected districts were forced to find shelter in makeshift tents.
Mayor of LMC Chiribabu Maharjan thanked the Thai government and people of Thailand for their love and support to the people of Nepal. “Once the evacuation centre is built and handed over to the government, we will take full ownership and make best use of the centre,” he added. He also emphasised completing the multipurpose evacuation centre on time and committed to providing support.
IOM Nepal Chief of Mission Paul Norton said, “The multipurpose evacuation 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 also said the building will contribute to government’s effort in the area of disaster risk reduction and management.
Speaking at the ceremony, Charge d’ Affaires of Royal Thai Embassy in Kathmandu Tanaphum Leelaporn said, “As we are now celebrating 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Thailand and Nepal, a project like this will further strengthen friendship between the two countries and develop greater understanding and cooperation.”
He also said that Thailand would always stand by Nepal in the coming days.
A version of this article appears in print on January 22, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.