Owners of damaged houses facing tough time

KATHMANDU: Some house owners, whose houses were fully or partially damaged due to the quakes, have been facing a tough time.

Quake victims have been provided with Rs 15,000 per household to buy corrugated zinc sheets to build temporary shelters. The house owners on the outskirts of the Valley have sufficient space for building temporary shelters, but those in the city core areas say they do not have enough land for the same.

The owners of the damaged houses had initially lived in makeshift tents in open spaces such as traffic islands, parks, chowks and fields, but later they shifted to the survived houses of their relatives or rented new houses.

Amrit Bahadur Shakya, 51, of Bhotahiti has a precarious 61-year-old mud house. He has shifted to his uncle’s concrete house in Kohiti after living in a makeshift tent for some time.

“I don’t own land to construct temporary shelters similar to the ones constructed in remote villages of worst-hit districts,” Shakya said.

“It is not possible to continue living in makeshift tents on the land that I have, as it is surrounded by damaged buildings which could collapse. The footpaths, traffic islands and parks are public property and are not a long-term solutions for settlement. On top of that, the tents cannot withstand the storm, rain and thieves,” he added.

According to data maintained by the Nepal Disaster Risk Reduction Portal of the Ministry of Home Affairs, as many as 72,217 houses and buildings were fully destroyed and 65,694 others were partially damaged in the Valley.

Engineers of Nepal Engineers Association have carried out Rapid Visual Damage Assessment of 60,000 survived buildings in the Valley, out of which only 51 per cent buildings are habitable while 18 per cent are uninhabitable. Thirty-one per cent of them need immediate repair and maintenance to make them habitable.

Some of the owners of damaged houses have rented new rooms and houses instead of constructing temporary shelters due to shortage of private land. House owners with joint family have been hit hard, as they need to fork out huge amount of money to rent houses or buildings.

Sunil Shahi, 28, of Tuchegalli lost his house in the quakes. He has rented a two-storey earthquake-resistant building for his family and brother’s family, including father and mother, in Dallu with a monthly rental charge of Rs 30,000, exclusive of electricity and drinking water charges. “I have already paid Rs 4,000 for electricity and Rs 1,000 for drinking water. My income as a butcher is only about Rs 35,000 per month. I am a victim of financial crisis and the disaster now,” he lamented.