A funding crunch had cast uncertainty on the reconstruction of homes damaged by the monsoon-induced disasters last year.
Anil Pokharel, chief executive officer of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority, said with the funds secured, concerns over the delay in reconstruction of homes damaged by floods and landslides in 2020 have been quelled.
“We have managed the funds from the Ministry of Finance and the internal resources of the authority to start the reconstruction work,” Pokharel told the Post.
In January, the government, through its working procedures, had decided that private houses damaged beyond repair by monsoon-related disasters last year would be built under a modality similar to the one adopted to rebuild the houses lost to the devastating earthquake of 2015.
But the reconstruction process had not taken off until mid-March, as the authority had not received funds from the Finance Ministry. The delay meant families rendered homeless in last year’s disaster had no option but to take refuge at their relatives and neighbors, or live in temporary shelters under the open sky.
“We will be distributing the first tranche of the rebuilding aid as soon as possible,” Pokharel said. “We can distribute the aid in districts where the data collection of damaged houses has been completed and verified.”
With Rs. 200 million from the Finance Ministry and Rs. 500 million from Disaster Management Fund under the federal government, a total of Rs. 700 million has been made available for the reconstruction process, according to Pokharel.
The 2020 monsoon was the deadliest in many years in terms of lives lost. In the four months between June 12, 2020 and October 16, 2020, 367 people died due to various monsoon-related disasters. Of them, 293 people were killed in landslides, 39 in floods and 35 by lightning strikes. Another 100 went missing and 325 suffered injuries, according to official figures.
Families that lost their homes to disasters after June 12, when the monsoon entered the country, are eligible to receive the rebuilding aid. This includes the houses damaged since the landslide in Durlung, Parbat, the incident that took place on June 12.
Authorities are still unsure how many houses will need to be rebuilt under the government’s aid program, as the assessment and verification of families eligible for the support is not over yet.
“Our estimate shows there could be around 2,600 private houses which will require government aid,” Pokharel told the Post. “We have started the work keeping up to 2,600 houses on our list. This figure could go up as we are still waiting for the final data.”
The aid beneficiaries will get financial support in three installments. As per the guidelines, beneficiaries selected in the mountain districts will get Rs. 500,000 and those in the hill and the Tarai districts will get Rs. 400,000 and Rs. 300,000 respectively.
The authority plans to distribute the first tranche of the housing aid within the next two weeks. “The first tranche will at least help those living in tents to move to other temporary but better shelters for now,” said Pokharel.
By Chandan Kumar Mandal in The Kathmandu Post – April 10, 2021