Earthquake survivors in Siddhalek say housing aid is not sufficientAffected families have opted to retrofit their homes rather than construct new ones.
Harihar Singh Rathour
Many earthquake survivors in Siddhalek, Dhading, have opted to retrofit their houses rather than constructing new ones, according to officials at the National Reconstruction Authority.
Though many of the quake-affected households in Saiddhalek had received the first installment of housing reconstruction aid, most of them later changed their decision to build new homes, as they realised that the money allocated to construct a house is not sufficient. The government provides Rs 300,000 to construct a new house. The beneficiary gets Rs 50,000 in the first instalment followed by Rs 150,000 and Rs 100,000 in the second and third instalments. To retrofit a house, the rebuilding authority provides Rs 100,000.
“Most of us have started to retrofit our houses because the money given by the government to build a new house is not enough. Retrofitting will also help us preserve the traditional style of our homes,” Ram Prasad Naharki, a resident of Siddhalek, said.
Traditional houses in Dhading are made of wood and mud, usually three-storeyed high with balconies and slanted roofs. After the 2015 earthquake, the affected houses are being reconstructed using concrete materials, moving away from traditional styles.
Many families have moved their names from the housing reconstruction aid list to the retrofitting list. Naharki’s three neighbours have also done the same.
In total, 4,711 quake victims in Dhading have registered applications with the National Reconstruction Authority to receive Rs 100,000 to retrofit their houses, In Siddhalek alone, seven quake-affected families have retrofitted their houses till date, as per the District Project Implementation Unit
Forty-two people in Siddhalek had received masonry training to retrofit houses.
“Quake victims want to retrofit their houses, as it requires less money to retrofit a house than to build a new one,” said Sushil Gyawali, chief executive officer of the NRA.
In total, the NRA has identified 83,085 quake-affected families in the district. Among them, 75, 333 have received first batch of the housing reconstruction aid.
According to Jayaram Shrestha, chief at the District Project Implementation Unit, 26,000 quake victims have lodged complaints in the NRA saying that their names are not included in the housing reconstruction aid list.
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