Kathmandu, April 23: Four years after the devastating earthquake in April 2015, the government's National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has managed to ensure the reconstruction of 80 percent of the private houses destroyed in the earthquake.
“In the reconstruction of private houses, we have made an overall progress of 80 percent,” declared the Chief Executive Officer of the NRA, Sushil Gyewali, while addressing a press conference organized today at the NRA hall. “Out of 762,307 households that had signed the grant agreements, 612,935 have either completed construction or are under reconstruction.”
Among them, 382,277 (50 percent) households have already completed reconstruction and have started living in their new homes, while 230,658 (30 percent) households are in the process of completing the reconstruction.
Saying that the government is making sure that no beneficiaries will left out, CEO Gyewali informed the press that the NRA has addressed most of the grievances that have come from the people. And, he said, “We are in the process of conducting a final round of survey for grievance hearing.”
Here’s the full text of the press release issued at the press conference:
I would like to welcome you all for your presence in this press conference organized to provide latest information about the achievements and current status of reconstruction and rehabilitation of damages after the earthquake on April 25, 2015 and its subsequent aftershocks. We would like to recognize your contribution in the reconstruction and rehabilitation from your respective areas, and we believe you will play an important role in the coming days too.
We devised the policy of collaboration, coordination and facilitation with earthquake survivors, local communities, civil society, non-governmental organizations, various other organizations, international community and the government agencies and mobilized them as required for the reconstruction and rehabilitation works. This is our unique model of reconstruction and rehabilitation. The positive result of reconstruction has proved that the concept and vision taken by the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) was in the right direction.
We had prioritized reconstruction of structures such as private housing, educational institutions, health facilities, and archeological heritages, buildings of security agencies, government offices, and roads, and drinking water. Among them, we prioritized the reconstruction of private houses first. In the reconstruction of private houses, we have made an overall progress of 80 percent. Out of 762,307 households that had signed the grant agreements, 612,935 have either completed construction or are under reconstruction. Among them, 382,277 (50 percent) households have already completed reconstruction and have started living in their new homes, while 230,658 (30 percent) households are in the process of completing the reconstruction.
We are also solving the problems of vulnerable groups, landless and self-inhabitants while providing housing plots in safer places for those living in unsafe places.
We have addressed most of the grievances that have come from the people. We are in the process of conducting a final round of survey for grievance hearing. We have been saying from the beginning that, it's not the government that will construct the houses, but the houses will be built with the ownership of the related house-owners. The government will facilitate financial and technical support. This process has ensured construction of large number of houses so far.
Now, I would like to inform you about the progress in the reconstruction of school buildings. Out of 7,553 schools needed reconstruction, 85 percent progress has been achieved. Out of them, 4,476 (59 percent) has already been reconstructed while 1,772 are currently under reconstruction.
Likewise, we have achieved 66 percent progress in the reconstruction of the health facilities. Out of 1,197 health institutions needed to be rebuilt, 643 (54 percent) have been reconstructed while 145 (12 percent) are currently under reconstruction.
In the reconstruction of heritages of archeological importance in 11 most affected districts, we have achieved 59 percent progress in the total of 753 monuments needed to be rebuilt. Out of them, 224 (30 percent) have already been reconstructed while 221 (29 percent) are currently under construction. Reconstruction of archeological heritage sites is the most complex and time consuming as issues like architecture, use of traditional construction material, their sentimental attachment with the daily lives of the local communities and ensuring their ownership need to be considered. Still, we have addressed the complexities seen in their reconstruction and advanced rebuilding various heritage sites like Ranipokhari, Dharahara, Kasthamandap and various other monuments included in the World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu Valley. For the reconstruction of the monasteries, guidelines and designs are being prepared and we will start the reconstruction soon.
Similarly, we have already completed reconstructing 56 percent of the security sector buildings. Out of 383 needed reconstruction, 145 (38 percent) have been reconstructed while 71 (18 percent) are currently under construction.
Likewise, 98 percent of the government buildings that needed reconstruction have either been completed or are under construction. Out of 415 government buildings, 262 (63 percent) have been completed while 145 (35 percent) are being reconstructed. Besides, we are equally focused on reconstructing the damaged roads and drinking water facilities.
In totality, the reconstruction after Gorkha earthquake is progressing in a fast pace. The recognition by the international community and the support provided by them is commendable. Some donor agencies have started supporting more amount than they had pledged earlier. Our reconstruction is becoming a model and exemplary in the world in different aspects, which is a matter of pride for us all Nepalese.
We have made these achievements despite various challenges, including political transition, constitution-making process, blockade, establishment of the NRA only after eight months of the earthquake, and the frequent changes in the NRA leadership.
I will now highlight some of the challenges in the days ahead. The biggest challenge in reconstruction and rehabilitation is the financial management. A total of Rs. 938 billion was estimated for the five-year reconstruction and rehabilitation plan. Of which, Rs. 186 billion has been spent by FY 2017/18, and the revised projected expenditure for this fiscal year is Rs. 123 billion. Likewise, we have expected that about Rs. 200 billion will be mobilized through the government's regular budget program, private and NGO sector. This shows that we will need an additional Rs. 429 billion to complete the overall reconstruction works. So, the status of reconstruction will depend on our proper financial management. We have started discussing this with the Ministry of Finance and the donors.
The reshuffle of the government employees, which led to the transfer of many experienced reconstruction staff to provincial and local governments, has also affected the reconstruction works. Thus, staff management will be another big challenge for us.
The 2015 earthquake not only brought destruction, but also gave us opportunities and possibilities. Those who have completed reconstruction of private houses have also demanded for livelihood programs. We also have challenges of linking earthquake survivors with livelihood opportunities for economic transformation. For this, we have arranged to provide loans with subsidized interests and will implement special assistance program from the coming year.
We are clear on policy and legal provisions of reconstruction and rehabilitation. We are making special efforts to address the policy level problems. All stakeholders have the common responsibility of implementing those decisions and achieving hundred percent results.
At the end, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the earthquake survivor brothers and sisters, local communities, civil society, various organizations, international community, government agencies, and the press, among others who have been providing support from the very beginning in the government’s gigantic task of rebuilding.
National Reconstruction Authority,
Singha Durbar, Kathmandu.