IOM Urges Kathmandu Residents to Preserve Humanitarian Open Spaces

Posted: 
08/07/15

Nepal - IOM is urging Kathmandu residents to take part in actively preserving 83 open spaces designated for humanitarian purposes in the event of natural disasters in the Kathmandu Valley.

IOM Nepal, in partnership with the government and local organizations, and with funding from USAID/OFDA, will conduct public events through August and September at several open space sites in the valley. The first public event will take place tomorrow (8/8) at Jawalakhel Ground.

“We can't stop natural hazards, but we can help change the way that Nepal deals with disasters. After the first (April 2015) earthquake, all the 83 open spaces gazetted by the government in Kathmandu were used and provided people with immediate safety. We need to learn lessons from this and do everything we can to mitigate the impact of future disasters. It is therefore really important that the community assumes ownership of the open spaces and protects them,” says Acting IOM Nepal Chief of Mission Tom Sinkovits.

The open space concept was initiated in 2009 following Nepal’s Koshi flood response and activation of the UN cluster emergency response system in Nepal. Each open space was identified to meet projected needs of local communities in the event of a disastrous event in the Kathmandu Valley.

The open space promotion activities taking place in August and September are part of a USAID/OFDA-funded IOM project: “Preparedness and Management of Open Spaces for Effective Humanitarian Response in the Kathmandu Valley”.

IOM has worked closely with the government and municipalities in the Kathmandu Valley to prepare earthquake emergency response plans. It is continuing to work with the government to preserve open spaces and develop an earthquake debris management operations plan. It is also working with government partners to finalize standard operating procedures (SOPs) for first responders and camp managers, in the event of another major disaster.

To learn more about the 83 open spaces location and their usage, please visit: http://ktmevacsites.com/ and

https://sites.google.com/site/kathmanduopenspaces/home

For more information, please contact IOM Nepal. Jitendra Bohara, Email: jbohara@iom.int, Tel. +9779801004571 or Ariani Hasanah Soejoeti, Email: ahsoejoeti@iom.int, Tel. +977 9810175020.

Displaced people pitch tents in open spaces in the Kathmandu Valley after the April earthquake (File photo). © IOM 2015