‘Rs23b spent on relief, rescue’The government has released more than Rs22.78 billion in relief funding to the survivors of last April’s devastating earthquake and its aftershocks, including the search and rescue missions.
The government has released more than Rs22.78 billion in relief funding to the survivors of last April’s devastating earthquake and its aftershocks, including the search and rescue missions.
While the government and non-government organisations were involved in relief distribution, the latter now urge the government to move ahead with the reconstruction works with hundreds of thousands of quake survivors desperately waiting for that.
The government has released Rs 22.78 billion until Sunday, the Prime Minister Office said in a statement on Sunday. Out of that, the government has provided more than Rs 7 billion to purchase warm clothes for the quake survivors.
The expenses were incurred during distributions of aid, including Rs 10,000 to each family that lost its kin, those families whose houses were damaged, purchasing the relief materials from various ministries and government agencies, Rameshwor Dangal, chief of Natural Disaster Management Division at the Home Ministry said.
According to the PMO, more than Rs7 billion was deposited into Prime Minister’s Relief Fund by various organisations and persons and another Rs16.64 billion was released by the Finance Ministry.
The initial distribution of Rs15,000 in cash as immediate relief to purchase warm clothes have made a positive impact on the public, but the rest of relief materials distributed by the government was not that effective, noted Divya Raj Poudel, an official of the Nepal Red Cross Society.
In its latest sanctions, the Home Ministry has distributed Rs6.02 billion to 602,567 households who lost their homes in the disaster. They were each provided Rs10,000 to purchase warm clothes.
After complaints that the amount was not sufficient, the minister later distributed Rs1.12 billion for another 112,394 households to purchase warm clothes.
Before the quake, the PM’s Relief Fund only had Rs 50 million which was insufficient to provide immediate relief to survivors of natural calamities. Dangal clarified that Rs22.78 included costs incurred in search and rescue operations carried out by various security agencies, procurement of various relief materials, food purchased by various government agencies and transportation expenses. The amount also included were the costs for procurement of tarpaulin and other logistics by the Ministry of Urban Development; dry food items like beaten rice, biscuits, noodles and snacks by the Ministry of Industry; medicines by the Ministry of Health; use of helicopters both by various security agencies and fuel expenses, he added.
The big challenge now facing the government is how to carry forward the reconstruction works, said Poudel, adding that even the Red Cross is awaiting a nod from the NRA to build over 11,000 new houses. He urged the government to focus on reconstruction works as hundreds of thousands of quake sur-
vivors are looking up to the government to rebuild their homes.
“No administrative cost is included in this and the entire fund released under Rs22.78 billion has receipt from quake survivors,”claimed Dangal.
Officials are still receiving applications seeking state aid. “A verification is going on. We will provide relief amount during the reconstruction phase if any genuine quake victim was left out,” said Dangal.
FinMin releases Rs45b for reconstruction
KATHMANDU: The Finance Ministry released Rs 45 billion on Sunday, just a week before the National Reconstruction Authority’s planned launch of reconstruction of houses destroyed by earthquake on April 25.
The authority is preparing to start the reconstruction of the houses from Singati of Dolakha district on March 4 by providing aid and technical assistance to build earthquake-resilient houses in the areas hit by the disaster. “We will expedite bureaucratic formalities to ensure that the quake victims get aid at the earliest to begin reconstruction of quake destroyed houses,” said NRA Spoksperson Suresh Adhikari.
The government will also deploy trained engineers in the areas to ensure construction of earthquake proof houses. The grant amount will be distributed through the banking channel in three phases. However, this has been delayed in absence of “exact details” on houses and other infrastructure.
The government had announced to provide Rs200,000 to each household rendered homeless. Subsidised loans were introduced when the displaced people complained that the grant would be inadequate to fund the reconstruction.
Engineers, deployed as surveyors, have assessed 144,000 households. According to the government’s Post Disaster Needs Assessment, 498,852 private houses were destroyed by the April 25 earthquake and its aftershocks. The authority expects to have a detailed damage assessment in all 14 worst affected districts by April 25, when the country marks its first anniversary since the devastating earthquake.
International donors have pledged $4.4billion for rebuilding the nation, while the government has allocated Rs74 billion this fiscal year for reconstruction activities. Out of the donor-pledged money, the authority has already made bilateral contracts worth $85 million with the donors.