Nepal begins reconstruction
Nearly nine months after the April 2015 earthquake, Nepal has finally launched the long-awaited National Reconstruction Campaign.
President Bidya Bhandari and Prime Minister KP Oli simultaneously inaugurated the campaign from two different earthquake-affected sites on the 18th National Earthquake Safety Day. President Bhandari launched the initiative from the ruins of Rani Pokhari Temple in Kathmandu at 11:56 am, while Prime Minister Oli did so from the earthquake-ravaged township of Bungamati in the afternoon.
The timing of these inaugurations were symbolic, as at 11:56am on 25 April last year, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake epicentred in Gorkha struck central Nepal killing nearly 9,000 people and destroying more than 400,000 houses. At 2:24pm on 15 January in 1934, a 8.3 magnitude earthquake epicentred in Okhaldhunga killed 10,000 people in Kathmandu Valley.
After inaugurating the campaign, PM Oli urged every one to join the initiative and warned of taking strong actions against those found guilty of misusing the reconstruction budget.
In remembrance of the 1934 earthquake, Nepal has been observing 15 January as National Earthquake Safety Day for the last 18 years, organising various programs to raise awareness and make preparations for the next Big One. To mark this year’s anniversary, Nepal has officially begun rebuilding houses and infrastructure destroyed by the April earthquake.
Although the reconstruction campaign officially kicked off on Saturday, earthquake survivors living in temporary shelter in 14 districts will have to wait for three more months to get the first installment of reconstruction grants. The National Reconstruction Authority, which was set up only in December after months of political bickering, will be verifying the data and setting up its field offices over the next three months.
The Authority’s CEO Sushil Gyewali unveiled his work-plan this week, which targets to break ground on reconstruction work before the first anniversary of the 25 April earthquake. Donors have pledged $4.1 billion to help Nepal’s reconstruction campaign. A needs assessment report by the National Planning Commission (NPC) says Nepal will need at least $6 billion and five years to complete the earthquake recovery campaign.
Source: Nepali times