International Center for Integrated Mountain Development Receives Humanitarian Award for Nepal Earthquake Response

Redlands, California—The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), an intergovernmental agency in South and Central Asia, was honored with the Esri Humanitarian GIS Award for their assistance to the government of Nepal following major earthquakes in April and May. The award was presented Monday, July 20, at the 2015 Esri User Conference in San Diego, California.

After a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, ICIMOD staff worked to assist the Nepal Ministry of Home Affairs as they grappled with the recovery effort. With a small staff of just more than 40 individuals, ICIMOD worked around the clock to provide geospatial information products that supported key recovery and relief decisions.

“In a disaster situation like the one Nepal faced, collecting, managing, processing, and disseminating timely and reliable information becomes critical to relief and recovery operations,” said ICIMOD’s director general Dr. David Molden. “Therefore, what we did was bring together an international coalition of relevant institutions to deliver that crucial and critical information to the Government of Nepal and others to inform relief and recovery efforts.”

Using the ArcGIS platform, ICIMOD created a geoportal that provides interactive maps, charts, and infographics about the earthquakes and the relief efforts. The geoportal acts as a unified information hub for use by regional and global partners including space agencies, UN organizations, donor agencies, academic and research organizations, relief organizations, local NGOs, private sector organizations, and civil society.

The geoportal includes comprehensive information about infrastructure, health, education, and cultural heritage sites. Following the earthquake, ICIMOD assembled a database documenting large mass movements in order to identify communities and areas with higher risks of landslides and other geohazards. The team has also provided crucial flight information for helicopter pilots flying rescue and relief missions in unfamiliar terrain by mapping potential flight paths and landing sites.

“ICIMOD’s resolve and tireless efforts in the face of such devastation truly inspire us,” said Esri president Jack Dangermond. “Their work has already had huge impact and they continue to drive relief and recovery efforts in Nepal.”

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge sharing center serving the eight member countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region—Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. It aims to influence policy and practices to meet environmental and livelihood challenges emerging in the HKH region.

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