Message from Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli
The post-earthquake reconstruction and recovery was never meant to be a cake walk. It was a challenging endeavour because the earthquake survivors had high expectations from the government, and a lot of hurdles needed to be removed in the course of the post-disaster recovery. But we were able to address all the challenges thanks to our clear vision and planning, which continue to guide us towards achieving our goal.
The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has completed the first three years of its establishment, and is entering the fourth year. On this occasion, I would like to extend my best wishes to everyone associated with the NRA. I would like to thank everyone involved in rebuilding and restoring the structures destroyed and damaged by the 25 April 2015 earthquake and its aftershocks. Also, I would like to ask the NRA to complete the remaining work of the post-earthquake reconstruction and recovery project in time.
The NRA was established on the basis of consensus of all the political parties, and with the objective of rebuilding the earthquake-damaged structures in a better, sustainable, stronger and planned way and delivering social justice by relocating, resettling and rehabilitating the earthquake-displaced families. In the past three years, infrastructures like private houses, educational institutions, health facilities, cultural heritage, government office buildings, security forces' buildings, roads and drinking water have been rebuilt. With the government grants and technical support, 75% of the earthquake-damaged houses are already rebuilt or being rebuilt and people have taken ownership of this reconstruction campaign. We consider the progress made so far in the post-earthquake reconstruction and recovery an important achievement. Similarly, a remarkable progress has been made in rebuilding schools, health facilities and heritage.
We wanted to provide permanent housing for hundreds of thousands of Nepali people made homeless by the earthquake as soon as possible. We also wanted to complete reconstruction of the earthquake-damaged structures as soon as possible. Our sense of urgency was not just guided by the duty of a government, we were driven to address the humanitarian needs of the earthquake survivors. Never before had our generation dealt with a disaster of this magnitude, so we lacked experience of spearheading a post-disaster recovery campaign of this scale. But lack of experience was never meant to be an excuse, and we wanted to deliver results at the earliest. The post-earthquake reconstruction could not gain momentum immediately due to institutional constraints and the lack of adequate resources. The absence of elected representatives of people at local levels and the lack of clear policies and procedures also slowed the pace of reconstruction. Therefore, the initial results of reconstruction work were not satisfactory. But reconstruction remained a top priority of the government. As a result, things have changed by the end of the third year of the NRA.
Having lived in tents and then temporary shelters, hundreds of thousands of Nepalis displaced by the earthquake are moving into newly-built and safe houses. Thousands of students are now studying in better and safer class rooms. Many villages have got a face-lift in the course of reconstruction, and now look more beautiful than they did before the earthquake. The process to relocate seismically hazardous and landslide-prone villages and develop integrated settlements is under way. Hundreds of thousands of the earthquake-damaged structures are being rebuilt better, stronger and earthquake-resistant. The progress made in the post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction is not just the result of the government and government agencies alone. It was made possible also because of the invaluable support of the International Community, donor agencies, NGOs, various organisations and local communities.
The post-earthquake reconstruction and recovery was never meant to be a cake walk. It was a challenging endeavour because the earthquake survivors had high expectations from the government, and a lot of hurdles needed to be removed in the course of the post-disaster recovery. But we were able to address all the challenges thanks to our clear vision and planning, which continue to guide us towards achieving our goal. We have always given utmost importance to collective and consistent efforts, resource management and their effective mobilisation. We have always viewed the post-earthquake reconstruction as the common challenge and agenda of the nation. This is the reason behind the decision to have the leader of the main opposition as Vice Chair of the Steering Committee of the NRA. We all Nepalis are together when it comes to the post-earthquake reconstruction and recovery. The whole nation is united to rise from the rubble and build a new, better, stronger and safer country. We are committed to accomplish this mission at the earliest.
There are still challenges for reconstruction of private houses, schools and heritage and the socio-economic rehabilitation of the earthquake survivors. It is also our responsibility to address the specific needs of the earthquake-affected elderly people and physically disabled persons. I would like to urge all to support the NRA to tackle these challenges, and complete its mission in time.
At the end, I would like to urge all my Nepali brothers and sisters to prove that a disaster is also an opportunity to build back better. I would like to appeal to all the Nepali people to contribute from their respective sectors to the post-earthquake reconstruction and recovery and disaster risk reduction, and help the ‘prosperous Nepal, happy Nepalis’ campaign.