WB approves Rs 22.82bn loan for reconstruction

Kathmandu, February 6

The World Bank has approved an additional credit of $200 million (equivalent to Rs 22.82 billion) for the implementation of the Earthquake Housing Reconstruction Project (EHRP) in Nepal.

An agreement to this effect was signed today between Shreekrishna Nepal, joint secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Faris H Hadad- Zervos, World Bank’s country manager for Nepal.

The EHRP and the second additional financing contributes to Nepal’s umbrella Housing Reconstruction Programme (HRP), which aims to rebuild earthquake-resistant core housing units by providing housing grants to eligible beneficiaries who have enrolled in the programme, as per the World Bank.

Moreover, the World Bank said that the second additional financing will scale up EHRP’s support to the government’s HRP by financing reconstruction of an additional 86,680 houses in the 32 districts affected by the 2015 earthquake.

“The government of Nepal expresses its sincere appreciation to the World Bank for this assistance and its continued support in the post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction efforts of Nepal. This support is instrumental and it will help to achieve the government’s commitment to complete individual housing reconstruction by this fiscal year,” said Joint Secretary Nepal.

The government has been implementing the post-earthquake housing reconstruction project since August 14, 2015, with a credit amount of $200 million. The first additional credit of $300 million was approved on December 15, 2017. As of January 31, 2020, out of 683,367 beneficiaries enrolled under the EHRP in 14 most-affected districts, 99 per cent have received the first tranche, 82 per cent have received the second tranche, and 71 per cent have received the third tranche of the housing grant.

“Five years hence, a lasting memory of the Nepal earthquake is that of the resilience of the people of Nepal,” stated Faris Hadad-Zervos of the bank. “We join Nepal’s development community in continuing support to the government to help families affected by the earthquake rebuild their lives.”

Implemented by the National Reconstruction Authority, the EHRP adopts an owner-driven housing reconstruction approach that promotes earthquake-resistant building techniques and materials and aims at improving long-term resilience through a culture of safer and sustainable housing and settlements.

Under the project, eligible beneficiaries receive grants of Rs 300,000 each for reconstruction of houses in compliance with approved reconstruction guidelines in three tranches.

The impact of the earthquakes is estimated at 35 per cent of Nepal’s gross domestic product with recovery needs of about $7 billion.