Nepal | August 05, 2020

Pace of reconstruction taking forever to pick up

Cash crunch a major setback, says NRA

Himalayan News Service
Share Now:

Kathmandu, April 24

As the country marks the fourth anniversary of 2015 Gorkha earthquake tomorrow, the tremors felt today may have compelled many to mull over the pace of recovery and Nepal’s preparedness for such disasters in the future.

Going by the statistics of National Reconstruction Authority, more than 50 per cent of identified beneficiaries for the housing grant (Rs 350,000) are yet to take all three tranches of the grant. This means that half the houses damaged by the earthquake in 2015 are yet to be reconstructed, even as NRA claims to have made 80 per cent progress in the reconstruction of houses, claiming that the other 30 per cent of damaged houses are being reconstructed.

Achievements made in the country in terms of rebuilding individual houses over the period of four years is quite sluggish compared to the progress achieved in reconstruction by India following the 2001 Bhuj earthquake and by Pakistan after the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Both the countries were able to completely rebuild almost 80 per cent of quake-damaged houses by the end of four years.

NRA claims to have achieved 66 per cent progress in the reconstruction of health institutions damaged by the earthquakes. However, if the ongoing reconstruction of health institutions is not considered, only 54 per cent, or 643 health institutions out of 1,197, that need to be rebuilt have been completely reconstructed in the past four years.

In terms of reconstruction of heritage sites of archaeological importance in 11 most affected districts, 59 per cent progress has been made, including ongoing reconstruction. However, only 224 or 30 per cent of 753 monuments that have been reconstructed completely so far.

Undoubtedly, recovery from any extreme disaster is a lengthy process. However, assurance of local resilience, adequate funding, effective governance and a host of other factors are necessary to ensure that the post-disaster recovery is smooth and completed as soon as possible.

So, what is holding back Nepal’s post-quake reconstruction drive? How long will it take to complete rebuilding all the quake-damaged structures?

Sushil Gyewali, chief executive officer of NRA, states cash crunch is the major factor affecting the ongoing post-quake reconstruction drive.

Though Gyewali is quick to point that post-earthquake reconstruction activities have been accelerated recently, he mentioned, “The reconstruction process ahead depends on proper financial management, as NRA is facing budget deficit. We roughly need additional Rs 429 billion to complete reconstruction of structures devastated by the earthquakes.”

As identified by the Post Disaster Needs Assessment report of the government, the country requires a total of Rs 938 billion for the five-year reconstruction and rehabilitation plan. This funding gap should be addressed by raising yearly allocation of budget and through loans and grants assistance from donors sooner, Gyewali opines.

Meanwhile, on the preparedness front of disasters, the government claims that necessary policies have been formulated in a bid to ensure effective rescue and rehabilitation mechanism.

“We have prepared necessary policies and guidelines to cope with post-disaster situations while a few other disaster-related policies are being made contextual,” said Indu Ghimire, chief of Disaster Management Division at the Ministry of Home Affairs.

However, it remains to be seen how effectively those policies are implemented.

READ ALSO:


A version of this article appears in print on April 25, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

MoHP lists swab collection centres in Kathmandu; urges public to follow safety guidelines

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Health and Population on Tuesday announced 14 swab collection centres to facilitate extensive testing of coronavirus infection in Kathmandu valley at a time when new cases have been on the rise. MoHP has urged the public to visit the swab collection centres from 9:00 am Read More...

Gai Jatra: Festival that honours the memory of those departed

KATHMANDU: Gai Jatra, literally translated to the festival of cows, is observed by bereaved families by taking out procession in memory of the ones they have lost. People, especially children, walk in different costumes, and the processions are also accompanied by traditional bands. Gai Jatra is Read More...

Nepal’s COVID-19 count crosses the 21k mark, 259 new cases detected on Tuesday

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Health and Population has recorded 259 new cases of the coronavirus infection on Tuesday, taking the nationwide count to 21,009. The new infections were confirmed after testing 7,687 specimens through PCR method across the nation in the last 24 hours. Among the new c Read More...

Nepal COVID-19 Update: 259 new cases, 65 recoveries, one fatality recorded today

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s Health Ministry, in its regular press briefing, shared the latest updates on coronavirus contagion from across the country, and government’s response to the health crisis. As of today, 406,494 tests through Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method have been carried out, w Read More...

Nepal logs one more COVID-19 fatality; death toll reaches 58

KATHMANDU: One more person has succumbed to the coronavirus infection, confirmed the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) at its regular media briefing, on Tuesday. A 77-year-old male from Biratnagar Metropolitan City-5, Morang, has died from the highly contagious disease on Monday. The pa Read More...

Reimpose lockdown, issue curfew order if necessary; strictly implement security protocol: Experts to PM Oli

KATHMANDU: At a meeting called to discuss government's further steps to contain the spread of Covid-19, experts suggested that the government should reimpose lockdown to ensure that the pandemic is checked. Some health experts even suggested Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who had convened the meeting Read More...

Bangladesh board denies not paying players ICC prize money

DHAKA: The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) on Tuesday dismissed allegations from a players' body that its international cricketers have not been paid all their prize money. The Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) said in a report that the Bangladesh players have not bee Read More...

Prominent Muslims to grace Hindu temple ceremony on contested India site

LUCKNOW: In a gesture of reconciliation, two prominent Muslims who lived through deadly riots following the razing of a mosque in northern India in 1992 plan to attend the foundation-laying ceremony for a Hindu temple on Wednesday on the same site, they said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who Read More...