IOM Hands Over Another Multipurpose Community Centre – This Time in Bhimeshwor, Dolakha District

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A newly constructed multipurpose community centre at Bhimeshwor municipality of Dolakha district was officially handed over to the municipal authorities today (5 August). This earthquake-resistant building constructed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with funding from the people of Thailand through the Royal Thai Government, will be used by the municipality as ‘coordination hub’ in its response to crises like COVID-19 pandemic.

“With the operation of multipurpose evacuation center in the municipality, IOM is hopeful that the disaster risk management can be supported from the grassroot level to encompass all the beneficiaries,” said Jitendtra Bohara, Head of Programs at International Organization for Migration (IOM) Nepal.

Confirmed COVID cases in Nepal have been increasing daily, although there has been decline partly attributed to declining number of returnees from neighboring India while the country saw sharp increase in cases after the Indian government eased its lockdown effective 1 June. Majority of cases in Nepal so far, have been returnee migrants. 

“Having designated open spaces with on-site amenities is certainly much safer and important than setting up tent at random area at the event of disaster,” said the Bhimeshwor municipality Mayor Bharat Bahadur KC inaugurating the building. 

On the same occasion, Mayor KC also unveiled the ‘Open Space Map Book’ developed by the IOM covering all details of designated ‘open spaces’ in the municipality to be used for humanitarian purposes in the event of a disaster. The map book covers all details of ‘open spaces’ such as Global Positioning System (GPS) location, total area, nearest route for evacuation when disaster strikes, nearest emergency services and so on around the open spaces.

IOM is supporting the Government in the identification and protection of ‘open spaces’ in the provinces of Bagmati, Gandaki and Province 5. The 83 open spaces identified in Kathmandu valley with support from the IOM, were found to be useful during the Nepal earthquake 2015 that displaced approximately 2.8 million people. The identified open spaces will be integrated to government’s BIPAD platform, a real time database information management sharing portal that will be related completely to both natural and non-natural hazards.

On the onset of disaster, the building will be used to provide shelter for displaced people with priority given to the most vulnerable, including pregnant women, children, people with special needs and the elderly people. In times when no disasters or emergencies are prevalent, the building will serve as a venue for community and municipal activities, including women and youth groups, community-based trainings, recreational pursuits, information dissemination and income generating activities.

Under the same project, IOM is building similar multipurpose structures in seven other municipalities in earthquake-affected districts namely Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Gorkha, Dhading, Sindhupalchowk and Rasuwa, with the structure in Bhaktapur district already completed and handed over to the concerned authority.

The project, part of support from the people of Thailand to the Nepalese people in their recovery efforts from the earthquake 2015, is being implemented under the leadership of the Government of Nepal, mainly the Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration.

As co-lead for camp coordination and camp management (CCCM) cluster in humanitarian emergencies, IOM Nepal contributes to government’s efforts in disaster risk reduction and building resilient communities.

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