KATHMANDU, July 7: The newly-constructed multipurpose community centre at Changunarayan Municipality in Bhaktapur district was handed over to the municipal authorities on Monday. The building will be used as a ‘coordination hub’ by the municipality as part of its crisis preparedness and response efforts including those for COVID-19.
The building was constructed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with financial support from Thailand with the purpose of supporting the Nepali people to recover from Nepal Earthquake 2015, according to a press statement issued by the IOM Office in Kathmandu.
“It gives a feeling of accomplishment that we were able to complete the earthquake-resistant structure within the set time frame and the building can now be an added value to Local Government’s efforts to respond to the current pandemic,” the statement quoted Chief Migration Health Officer of IOM Nepal, Dr Vasil Gajdadziev as saying.
The earthquake displaced approximately 2.8 million people. Some 117,700 people in the 14 worst-affected districts were forced to find shelter in makeshift camps.
Similarly, the impact of the ongoing pandemic on Nepal has been increasing daily with hundreds of thousands of migrants returning home from India after it eased its lockdown from June 1. The Government of Nepal has started repatriation of Nepalis stranded abroad since early June as Nepal had imposed a nationwide lockdown effective 24 March.
As of 6 July, the number of confirmed cases in Nepal stands at 15,964 with 35 deaths. A majority of the confirmed cases to date are returnee migrants. “This is an auspicious moment for both countries - Thailand and Nepal - as this represents the former’s support to the latter in its efforts toward building a resilient nation,” said Charge d’ Affaires a.i. of the Thai Embassy in Nepal, Utoomporn Ampaivit.
Recalling that in the year 2019 Thailand and Nepal marked the 60th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Thai envoy also expressed her confidence that cooperation and partnership between the two countries and friendship between the people of both sides will keep growing ever stronger.
Addressing the function, mayor of Changunarayan municipality, Som Prasad Mishra thanked the Thai government and people for the support and assured his further steps in making his municipality a Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Champion municipality in the country.
At the onset of disasters, the centre will be used to provide shelter to displaced people with priority given to the most vulnerable, including pregnant women, children, people with special needs and the elderly. The centre will also serve as a venue for community and municipal activities, including women and youth groups, community-based training, recreational pursuits, information dissemination and income generating activities.
Under the same project, IOM has been building similar multipurpose structures in seven other municipalities in earthquake affected districts – Shankarapur Municipality of Kathmandu district, Lalitpur Metropolitan City of Lalitpur district, Gorkha of Gorkha, Neelkantha of Dhading, Gosainkunda of Rasuwa, Chautara of Sindhupalchowk, and Bhimeshwor of Dolakha district. The project is 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.