Donor assistance fills quake survivors with new hope

Sindhupalchowk, May 4

Quake survivors, who had been largely disappointed with the government’s dillydallying in the country’s reconstruction drive, have found a reason to be hopeful again as the development partners have started supporting the quake-affected people in recovery and rebuilding of critical public facilities and infrastructure, and through trainings on income generating activities.

Fifty-year-old Gaine Tamang of Irkhu-5, Sindhupalchowk district can be seen busy building a second transitional shelter as the earlier one that was built immediately after the quake was too small to accommodate his family.

“Building another temporary shelter was not in our plans as we hoped to rebuild our house with grant announced by government,” said Tamang.

However, a year has already passed since the devastating quake with no certainty when the survivors in Sindhupalchowk will be given the financial support. “And as the monsoon season will be upon us in the next few months, we decided to build another temporary shelter so that at least my family members will not have to live crammed in a small shed,” explained Tamang.

Almost all the houses in Irkhu-5 were damaged by the devastating temblors of last year. People visiting Irkhu can see the landscape dotted with temporary shelters made up of corrugated sheets.

“Because of the corrugated sheets, it becomes impossible to stay inside the shelter on a sunny day,” explained Tamang.

Even as National Reconstruction Authority is yet to begin grant distribution for the rebuilding of individual houses in quake-hit Sindhupalchowk, Gaine is filled with new optimism since a member from his family got masonry training and his wife benefited from vegetable seedling development training provided by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in the district.

JICA has been conducting the training for the females in Irkhu of Sindhupalchowk, where Tamang lives, in association with District Agriculture Development Office (DADO).

The organisation has also been extending support for rebuilding of seed and vegetable collection centre and some office buildings of cooperatives, according to Hem Sharma Tiwari, crop development officer at DADO, Sindhupalchowk. “The short-term trainings for women to develop vegetable seedlings in Irkhu have provided them with an opportunity to engage in income generating activities.”

Moreover, JICA has also provided masonry training to 270 youths of Sindhupalchowk, who have been engaged in reconstruction of houses after completing the course. Equal number of youths had benefited from a similar training in Gorkha district, according to the organisation.

With a number of other activities like supporting to build office for District Women and Children Offices, to maintenance of water treatment plant and replacing 18-km water transmission pipe for smooth supply of drinking water facility, the development partner has taken upon various initiatives to help quake survivors.

Moreover, of the $260 million pledged by the Japan government as rehabilitation and reconstruction assistance for quake-hit Nepal, around half of the money or $112 million is going to be spent for construction of quake resilient schools in Gorkha, Dhading, Makawanpur, Nuwakot, Rasuwa and Lalitpur districts. Similarly, $96 million will be spent on individual housing projects in Gorkha and Sindhupalchowk and $32 million to build public facilities and infrastructure.

While various donor agencies and development partners continue to provide whatever relief they can to those hit hardest by the quakes, villagers like Tamang hope the government also accelerates its reconstruction drive so that they can recoup and start rebuilding their lives.