US adds more support to Nepal reconstruction efforts

KATHMANDU: The United States on Wednesday announced three programmes to support the Nepal government in post-earthquake reconstruction efforts.

The US government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), would support Nepal's model of owner-driven housing reconstruction following the April 25, the US Embassy in Kathmandu said in a statement today.

"Building on previous investments, USAID programmes will train an estimated 13,500 local construction professionals and educate more than 285,000 affected homeowners on building earthquake-resistant homes over the next five years," the statement read.

The USAID will launch the five-year Baliyo Ghar (Strong House) programme with an investment of USD 8 million, according to the Embassy.

The project will train local masons, carpenters, engineers, and affected homeowners.

It will also support the establishment of a National Reconstruction Technology Centre and three other training centres at local level in Dolakha, Dhading, and Nuwakot districts.

Baliyo Ghar will be implemented by the National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET) in cooperation with the Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training, and National Planning Commission, according to the statement.

“This week, as Nepal marks six months since the April 25 earthquake, we are pleased to announce our new and expanded initiatives and pledge that we will continue to help rebuild a safer and stronger Nepal,” the statement quoted US Ambassador Alaina B Teplitz.

Similarly, the USAID will also expand its ongoing resilience project, Sabal, by investing USD 2.7 million in training local masons in Sindhupalchok and Kavrepalanchok districts.

Moreover, the USAID has also made USD 9.6 million contribution to the World Bank Nepal Earthquake Reconstruction Multi-Donor Trust Fund to directly support the Government-led beneficiary survey in the 14 most-affected districts as well as the provision of housing reconstruction cash grant s to affected homeowners.