Talk of quick survey for aid hollowThe promise of swift verification of earthquake-damaged houses to facilitate the disbursement of grant assistance to nearly 770,000 homeowners has remained hollow.
The promise of swift verification of earthquake-damaged houses to facilitate the disbursement of grant assistance to nearly 770,000 homeowners has remained hollow.
Even though the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) boasted of using hi-tech assessment tools to instantly update data to the servers in Kathmandu using tablets and specifically designed apps, technical glitches and poor or non-existent internet connectivity have delayed the process.
“Tablets weren’t functioning properly given the poor internet connectivity in villages,” said Rudra Suwal, a deputy director general for the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). “Surveyors often have to walk hours to reach local towns connected by internet.”
The assessments were
set to be completed by mid-April, but as of March 8, only 46 percent of the work has been over, according to the authority.
On Monday, NRA Chief Executive Officer Sushil Gyewali said that damage assessment may not conclude in some mountainous Village Development Committees within the deadline.
Assessment of homes is a major precondition to
distributing housing reconstruction aid to the earthquake survivors. Surveyors were deployed with tablets and power back-up to
recharge devices since the first week of January with a target of completing the assessment by mid-April.
Till date, the CBS has deployed 1,475 trained
engineers in the quake-ravaged districts at the NRA’s request. So far, 312,529 households have been surveyed. Although the government estimated in its Post Disaster Needs Assessment that
570,000 houses were
destroyed, the number rose dramatically to 770,000
by the time the government announced a winter relief package late last year,
according to Home Ministry officials.
The survey has not begun in the three districts of Kathmandu Valley as the authorities are yet to finalise the criteria to enlist houses as “fully destroyed”. Trained engineers cum assessors have not yet reached some mountainous villages due to
snow. Locals of such villages had already moved to lower land to escape cold.
Some villages in three quake-affected districts—Dolakha, Rasuwa and Gorkha—lie in the Himalayan Pass where snow covers villages until the end of March. “In case of Rasuwa, the roads are badly damaged. We may have to use helicopters to reach some villages in Langtang Valley,” said Suwal.
going round houses
SN District Surveyed households
1 Dolakha 60,258
2 Rasuwa 2,124
3 Gorkha 35,000
4 Sindhupalchok 24,619
5 Nuwakot 35,355
6 Ramechhap 21,143
7 Makwanpur 34,193
8 Okhaldhunga 21,287
9 Sindhuli 15,925
10 Dhading 35,400
11 Kavre 27,225