Nepal | July 09, 2020

A look at Nepal’s progress in earthquake recovery

Share Now:

In this April 24, 2017 photo, an elderly Nepalese man sits in front of his shelter in Bhaktapur, Nepal. Nearly everything was lost two years ago, when a terrifying earthquake rattled the Himalayan nation on April 25, 2015, killing more than 9,000 people and toppling nearly a million homes nationwide. The government has been criticized for moving slowly in dispersing funds that would allow people to rebuild on their own. Photo: AP

KATHMANDU: Two years ago, Nepal was ravaged by a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 people and left another 4 million homeless as their humble homes built from brick and stone were toppled within seconds.

Only a small number have managed to rebuild since then, with the vast majority still sheltering in makeshift tents as they wait for government aid to be coordinated and dispersed across the Himalayan nation.

Here are some of the main issues surrounding Nepal’s recovery and reconstruction:


The quake decimated homes, infrastructure and temples across the country and the full extent of the damage is still being determined. The government estimates it will need $9.4 billion to rebuild everything.

The government has so far counted 626,694 homes as damaged, though it has only surveyed the 14 worst-hit districts and has another 17 districts to work through. It is believed the actual number of homes damaged could be as high as a million.

Foreign governments and agencies have pledged some $4.2 billion in reconstruction aid, and Nepal has reached deals to collect three-quarter of that. But reconstruction officials say they have no source for the rest of the needed funds, and are relying on foreign countries to provide that as well.

There was also significant damage on Mount Everest during the earthquake, which set off an avalanche that swept through the base camp and killed 19 people and damaged many of the camps set up there.

The 2015 climbing season was cancelled. Climbers returned to the mountain in the 2016 season and hundreds are expected to attempt scale the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak next month.


In short,  not much. In the quake’s aftermath, Nepal immediately became embroiled in political squabbles, and has since shuffled through two administrations. A supply crisis also hampered progress and distracted officials, with thousands of protesters from ethnic minority groups demanding more constitutional representation blocking fuel and food shipments at the border in 2015 and for several months in 2016.

It took more than eight months for Nepal to create a National Reconstruction Authority to deal with all earthquake aid assessments, claims and payments, and then another three months to sort out the agency’s leadership.

To date, Nepal has managed to rebuild just over 22,000 homes — or about 3.5 percent of the number so far counted for reconstruction.

Out of the 750 heritage structures damaged — including palaces, Hindu temples and Buddhist shrines — about 90 are now being reconstructed with private and community funding.


The vast majority of Nepalese made homeless by the quake are sheltering in makeshift tents built out of tarpaulin sheets and corrugated tin. The tents offer little protection from insects, vermin, winter cold or monsoon rains.

The government has promised a total of $2,910, in three installments, to each family in need of rebuilding. But so far, it has released only first payments of $485 to 87 percent of those families.

Banks also have yet to finalize terms by which they would offer low-interest loans on top of the aid payments.

Many have lost not just their homes, but also their jobs, as the quake also damaged buildings and ravaged the country’s economy. Farmers are selling their fields for cash to rebuild; others are taking out high-interest loans.

Non-profit aid groups have stepped in to help many with food, medicine and construction advice for rebuilding according to new government guidelines aimed at making homes earthquake-safe. But many living in remote, mountain villages remain mostly out of reach.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Making sure our four-legged friends are fed

KATHMANDU The lockdown came into effect in Nepal on March 24 to curb the spread of coronavirus confining people to their homes while schools, offices and businesses shut down. Nobody knew how the situation would unfold and for how long the lockdown would continue. At that moment Founder of Dis Read More...

Trump administration informs United Nations of US withdrawal from WHO

KATHMANDU: Trump administration that has been critical of the World Health Organisation (WHO) over its handling of coronavirus pandemic has formally withdrawn the United States from the UN health body, on Tuesday. The United Nations confirmed that the US would leave WHO on July 6, 2021, following Read More...

China, US trade tit-for-tat visa curbs over Tibet

BEIJING/WASHINGTON:  China said on Wednesday it will impose visa restrictions on US citizens who have engaged in what it called "egregious" behaviour over Tibet, in apparent retaliation against US restrictions on Chinese officials. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday the United Sta Read More...

Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 11.89 million, death toll over 543,500

At least 11,891,395 people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 543,539 have died, a Reuters tally showed. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019. The Worl Read More...

West Indies must try to win inside four days: Lara

LONDON: Batting great Brian Lara has said West Indies' best chance of victory against England is to race out to an early lead and secure the win inside five days. All-rounder Jason Holder is part of the tourists' impressive bowling attack but questions remain about their batting ahead of the Read More...

Foreign students fret over being sent home after US visa rule

When the phone rang Tuesday morning, Raul Romero had barely slept. The 21-year-old Venezuelan, on a scholarship at Ohio’s Kenyon College, had spent hours pondering his options after US Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Monday that international students taking classes fully online f Read More...

255 new cases of coronavirus infection recorded on Wednesday; nationwide tally reaches 16,423

KATHMANDU: Ministry of Health and Population has confirmed 255 new cases of the coronavirus infection on Wednesday, which has taken the nationwide COVID-19 tally to 16,423. In the last 24 hours, 253 people have been discharged from health facilities across the country after recovery from COVID-19 Read More...

Lampard says Pulisic has raised his game at Chelsea

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard believes Christian Pulisic has taken his game to another level after the forward scored in Tuesday's 3-2 Premier League victory at Crystal Palace. The 21-year-old, who became the most expensive American soccer player when he joined Chelsea in January 2019 for 64 Read More...