4 years after devastating quake hit Nepal, India rebuilds houses for victims

Kathmandu [Nepal]: Nepal on Thursday marked four years of the devastating earthquake that claimed more than 8,000 lives and injured more than 20,000.

The country is now rebuilding houses for the 2015 earthquake victims with the assistance of the Indian Government and the Nepal House Reconstruction Project under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) scheme.

Sanu Maya BK, along with her two sons and mother-in-law has been residing in a hut since the 2015 earthquake shattered their house and ravaged their personal belongings.

Maya is among those who are set to shift into new homes in Gorkha district.

Maya Abandoned by her husband, Maya who takes care of her mother-in-law and her two sons says she like many others like her was not aware of the construction project and got to know about it from social campaigners and mobilisers deployed by the UNDP who went door to door to enlighten underprivileged families regarding the project and its benefits.

“It has made things much easier. I came to know about it from the social mobilisers, they were on round collecting data about the constructed houses in the village and those under-construction,” Maya old ANI.

Maya is currently awaiting the last tranche of (Nepali Rupees) Nrs. 50,000 which would help her to complete the construction of her new earthquake-resistant house.

The Indian Government has appointed UNDP as a consultant to carry out the house reconstruction project underway in Gorkha where 26,912 houses are expected to be built. The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is underway with the construction of houses in the Nuwakot district, where almost 23,088 houses have been completed.

The Nepal House Reconstruction Project has not only enabled in the reconstruction of houses but also in line with the standard fixed by the Nepali government which demands it to be earthquake resistant.

“She (Sanu Maya BK) had given the house construction work to a local contractor who had violated the demands deeming the amount to be less. Upon observing it in our field visit we convinced them with a commitment to provide them with construction materials and labour facilities.

“Our team came here and worked for nearly three days and fixed the missing things like banners and the vertical jams and made her house as per her requirements, livable as well as earthquake resistant,” Bishnu Rokaya, an engineer for the House Reconstruction Project told ANI.

Bimala Lamichhane is another beneficiary from Gorkha district who had received assistance from the Indian Government and the UNDP for the reconstruction of her house which she had abandoned four years ago.

Bimala’s house was devastated in the earthquake of 2015 after which Bimala along with her sons were forced to go to her father’s house but now she plans to return to her newly constructed house in Sirdi, Gorkha that is nearing its completion.

“I will come back soon. I must stay; my sons need to complete their education too. I will come here and stay now,” Bimala told ANI.

Earlier, Bimala was unable to rebuild her house with the limited grant of NRs three lakhs from the Nepali Government. However, the Indian Government’s “Nepal House Reconstruction Project” has helped her to construct a house for herself and her family. Also, the UNDP came up with an idea of re-using the salvage materials which adjusted the price to NRs three Lakhs lowering from NRs five Lakhs.

“The total estimated cost is about five lakhs but we managed to construct this house, particularly this house in three lakhs,” said Naresh Ningal, the coordinator of Kashigaun for the Nepal House Reconstruction Project.
“It is possible because we use the salvaged materials from his old houses, it doesn’t require additional materials. Secondly, we use the salvaged wood and thirdly we would seek help from the community and we conduct certain training about these houses which reduces the cost,” Naresh added.

The Indian Government had committed USD one billion for the Himalayan nation for reconstructing project.
It has also allocated USD 150 million for the reconstruction of housing sectors out of which 100 million comes as grant and USD 50 million to be drawn from the Line of Credit. The grant amount of USD 250 million was allocated to four different sectors, including housing, education, health and cultural heritage.

In order to carry out the project effectively, the UNDP and UNOPS were appointed as socio-technical facilitation consultants for Gorkha and Nuwakot in March last year. Gorkha and the Nuwakot were the districts which had the highest death tolls and were enlisted as “Crisis Hit”.