Nepal - Since the Government of Nepal’s 30 June decision to temporarily relocate people living in areas at risk from landslides, IOM, as the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster lead, has been actively involved in supporting the government and ensuring that the process is consistent with international legal standards and humanitarian principles.
The Government of Nepal has announced a plan for temporary relocations of communities living in high-risk areas to safer locations, given the risk of landslides during the monsoon season. © IOM/Eunjin Jeong 2015
The government took the decision because of the increased risk of landslides associated with the arrival of the monsoon season, following the devastating April 25 earthquake. Communities living in dangerous areas urgently need to be temporarily relocated.
The Nepalese District Disaster Relief Committees (DDRC) were tasked to complete and deliver relocation plans by early July. The humanitarian community, including IOM, is giving their full support.
While some districts started preparing temporary relocation plans immediately, a consolidated plan, including exact number and location of displacement sites, duration of the displacement, provision of assistance and services on site, as well as measures to facilitate return, or finding alternative durable solutions should return not be possible, remain to be clarified by the government in the coming days.
Reactions from communities vary from one district to another. Some communities refuse to move, mainly for economic reasons. Land, livestock and ties to their villages are a major factor. But social, cultural and religious ties also play an important role in their reluctance to move. So far, there have been no reports of forced movement.
As the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster lead, IOM has been actively involved in ensuring that proper pre-conditions are in place to ensure that all movements are safe, orderly and dignified.
“Where temporary relocation is necessary, IOM encourages the movement to take place in a voluntary manner and is committed to supporting the government and the humanitarian community in arranging and implementing the most humane and orderly movement for people at risk,” says Thomas Sinkovits, IOM Acting Chief of Mission in Nepal.
“Temporary relocations should be carried out in a way that fully respects the rights to life, dignity, liberty and security of those affected under the laws of Nepal and appropriate international standards,“ he adds.
IOM has been contributing to the planning and discussions surrounding the operation since the announcement of the plan. Operational guidelines are being drafted by the CCCM cluster, in collaboration with the Shelter and Protection clusters, to ensure partners are aware of relevant standards and requirements to be taken into account, including the need for an ongoing consultative process to ensure the organization of voluntary and dignified movements.
“It is important that everyone involved is aware of the legal framework, standards and requirements to ensure safe and dignified movement,” said Wan Sophonpanich, Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) cluster coordinator for the IOM Earthquake Response Team in Nepal. “We are, currently, also drafting a general technical guidance for displacement sites to outline minimum standards for services to be provided, tailored to the needs and context of Nepal.”