Post-quake reconstruction cost escalates by 25 pc

Kathmandu, May 12

The cost of rebuilding parts of the country ravaged by last year’s devastating earthquakes is expected to go up by at least 25 per cent, as private housing and education sectors will require more funds for reconstruction and recovery.

Launching the long-awaited Post Disaster Recovery Framework, a blueprint that will guide post-quake reconstruction and rehabilitation works in the next five years, today, the National Reconstruction Authority said it would require at least Rs 837.74 billion to restore damaged infrastructure and livelihood of people by the end of 2020.

Earlier, the government had estimated the reconstruction and recovery cost to stand at Rs 669.50 billion.

“The cost of rebuilding Nepal has been revised upward, as private housing and education sectors will require more funds than previously estimated,” NRA CEO Sushil Gyewali told an event organised to launch the PDRF.

The report on Post Disaster Needs Assessment launched by the previous government had estimated total losses of 498,852 private houses. “But the latest assessment shows that over 500,000 houses were completely damaged by quakes,” Gyewali said. “Also, the education sector is expected to require more funds than we previously thought.”

As per the PDRF, at least Rs 286.06 billion will be required to rebuild rural houses and another Rs 90.06 billion to rebuild urban houses  up 15 per cent than the previous estimate.

This means around 45 per cent of the total reconstruction and recovery budget will go towards rebuilding rural and urban houses.

Similarly, the funding requirement for education sector is expected to stand at Rs 180.63 billion, which is a whopping 355 per cent more than the previous estimate of Rs 39.71 billion.

Another sector which is expected to consume a big chunk of reconstruction and recovery budget is cultural heritage, with funding needs hovering around Rs 33.80 billion.

This amount is almost 65 per cent higher than the previous estimate.

“The previous and latest estimates do not match because latest assessments are more comprehensive and recovery strategies have been polished,” says the PDRF, which was unveiled by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. “However, financial data and estimates are subject to further revision and correction.”

Unlike the PDNA report, which was prepared right after the quakes and gave a ballpark figure on total losses and damages, the PDRF is a comprehensive document that not only focuses on reconstruction of damaged infrastructure, but incorporates strategies to build safe structure, improve people’s access to basic services, generate economic opportunities, restore livelihoods and enhance social cohesion.

To meet these objectives, the NRA, in the coming days, will develop guidelines, integrate strategies adopted by the PDRF in district plans, develop capacity of stakeholders, recruit experts and set reconstruction priorities.

“Programmes and projects that deliver results in three to 12 months will be given priority.

Also, programmes and projects that can create economic and social impact and contribute to equitable recovery will be prioritised,” states the PDRF, which was launched coinciding with the day when the second major earthquake of 7.3 magnitude struck Nepal a year ago.

“Now that the PDRF has been launched, focus should be on building a robust monitoring and evaluation system,” said Takuya Kamata, World Bank’s country manager for Nepal, adding, “International community is with Nepal.”