NHRC concerned about delay in reconstruction

Kathmandu, April 25

The National Human Rights Commission today said its serious attention was drawn to the delay in providing housing grants to survivors of the 2015 earthquakes and reconstruction work.

“Two years on, many of victims are still living in makeshift shelters. NHRC monitoring report shows that their condition is getting worse. The victims have been deprived of human rights, including food, clothing, shelter, health, and education. The government has yet to identify some genuine victims. There has been delay in reconstruction of public infrastructures, including schools and hospitals,” read a press release issued by the rights watchdog on the second anniversary of the Gorkha earthquake.

The NHRC had last year made 44 recommendations to the government, political parties, non-governmental organisations and civil society regarding reconstruction and recovery of quake-damaged hospitals, schools, houses and other infrastructures, but in vain. “We urge the government, stakeholders, and all concerned to act on the recommendations in a timely manner,” read the release.

According to National Reconstruction Authority’s report, reconstruction of 22,234 houses have been completed so far. Of the 626,695 families eligible for government grant, only 543,606 have received the first tranche of Rs 50,000. Among them, only 49,681 have started rebuilding their homes, and construction of houses for 554,780 families, who lost their houses in the quake, is yet to begin.

In a separate press release, Asian Human Rights Commission said, “It comes as no surprise that reconstruction and relief measures have been limited to urban areas and to those at high receiving ends — elites and those with good political connections.” Those who are poor and marginalised are finding it difficult to recover. Many even do not have ownership of land, complicating their conditions to claim relief and pledged monetary assistance from the government.

“With relatively little aid available and slow recovery, marginalised groups like the Dalits are turning to borrowing monies elsewhere. Dalits are borrowing huge sums to rebuild in the absence of other assistance. However, borrowing is not helping many Dalits to recover, and that there is a real risk for many of being trapped in huge debts,” said AHRC.