Over 31,000 families rebuild on their ownTired of government apathy and the sluggish reconstruction process nearly a year after the April 25 earthquake, thousands of displaced families have decided not to wait for the government’s help in rebuilding their homes. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), more than 31,000 earthquake survivors in 11 of the 14 worst affected districts have rebuilt their homes on their own.
Tired of government apathy and the sluggish reconstruction process nearly a year after the April 25 earthquake, thousands of displaced families have decided not to wait for the government’s help in rebuilding their homes. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), more than 31,000 earthquake survivors in 11 of the 14 worst affected districts have rebuilt their homes on their own.
Officials believe the number could rise once the CBS completes a detailed assessment of the damage to houses. Ninety percent of the assessment is said to have been over in 11 districts. The survey is expected to be done by April. Detailed damage assessment will begin in the remaining three districts after the first phase of work is over. Survey is yet to begin in the worst-hit Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts.
“Early results show more than 31,000 houses have been reconstructed. We are still updating the details from the ground,” said Rudra Suwal, deputy director general of the CBS, adding, the number of self-built houses will shoot up with the final data.
More than 770,000 houses were said to be destroyed in the earthquakes in April and May last year. Immediately after the devastation, the government announced to provide Rs200,000 as grant and up to Rs2,500,000 in subsidised loan to each household rendered homeless.
So far only 641 households from Laduk and Lamidanda of Dolakha district have received Rs50,000 as the first instalment of the reconstruction grant. The aid agreement signing process is under way in the remaining districts.
In light of a significant number of households taking initiatives for rebuilding, the National Reconstruction Authority has now decided to revise its strict policy of not providing aid to houses reconstructed before the rebuilding process began.
The NRA has said that it would provide the government-announced aid to victims if their reconstructed buildings are quake-resilient. The aid distribution process is cumbersome, to be over in three phases after detailed damage assessment of the buildings. Rs80,000 will be released in the second instalment and Rs70,000 in the last, according to the NRA grant procedure guidelines.
The remaining families have delayed reconstruction fearing that the government may not provide the grant. Affected families are still waiting for the aid as the country prepares to mark the first anniversary of the quake that killed nearly 9,000 people.