Phalante Kanpur, April 15: Chhatra Bahadur and Radha Pariyar's three storey house in Phalante Kanpur suffered partial damage in the 2015 earthquake.
Technicians who had gone to survey the damage said it could be made livable by retrofitting it as per the standards. This would save money and time required to construct a similar new house.
It took a while for retrofitting of damaged houses of earthquake survivors like Chhatra Bahadur and Radha Pariyar to begin as a campaign, due to the lack of institutional knowledge, skills and skilled human resource for retrofitting of traditional stone-and-mud houses in Nepal
Retrofitting of the damaged houses is going to begin as a campaign at the special initiation of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) and technical support of various development partner organizations. Many houses had been retrofitted before this, too, but the NRA had the responsibility of convincing about 64,000 beneficiaries.
So, a systematic on-the-job training for retrofitting has begun with financial assistance from UK Department for International Development (DFID), management of UNOPS and technical support of Build Change. The on-the-job training campaign has begun from the three-storey house of Chhatra Bahadur and Radha Pariyar in Kanpur.
NRA Chief Executive Officer Sushil Gyewali, Mayor of Namobuddha Municipality Tanka Prasad Sharma and house owner Chhatra Bahadur Pariyar jointly inaugurated the retrofitting by cutting a ribbon.
Pariyar couple’s house has been propped from all four sides with timber, and tied with strong red and yellow belt.
Model retrofitting on-the-job training for the retrofitting of houses partially damaged by earthquake will take place in all 32 districts affected by the earthquake. Model retrofitting will happen in at least one house in each local level in the 14 severely affected districts, while there will be model retrofitting in at least one house in the district in the remaining 18 earthquake affected districts.
The NRA has a challenge to convince the retrofitting beneficiaries that damaged houses can be made earthquake resistant through retrofitting. CEO Gyewali expressed confidence that the positive results of model retrofitting will encourage the retrofitting beneficiaries to go for retrofitting.
“This will be a practical learning that even the stone-and-mud houses can be made earthquake resistant through retrofitting,” he said. “The training will not only provide knowledge and skills to our technicians and masons, but will provide positive message to the retrofitting beneficiaries, too.”
CEO Gyewali believes retrofitting will ensure low cost to the earthquake survivor beneficiaries, and will also preserve the traditional architecture of Nepali traditional houses. He is hopeful that this will improve Nepali engineers' knowledge on Nepal's traditional construction style and technology, and will also contribute to the handing over of this knowledge and skills to the new generation.
Mayor of Namobuddha Municipality Tanka Prasad Sharma Timilsina expressed happiness for the beginning of such campaign from his municipality. Timilsina expressed confidence that retrofitting of Pariyar couple's house will send a positive message to all retrofitting beneficiaries in the municipality. There are 253 retrofitting beneficiaries in Namobuddha Municipality.
Pariyar couple is happy about the retrofitting of their house. Pariyar couple's happiness could be seen on their faces during the inauguration of the on-the-job training, as they had been living in fear in the house cracked by earthquake.
“We, seven members of the family, had been living in fear. Now that our house is being earthquake resistant we are assured,” said Chhatra Bahadur Pariyar.
Rurik Marsden, Head of Office of DFID Nepal, said, “Retrofitting is a great, cost effective way to get more families into safer housing while preserving Nepal’s beautiful traditional architecture and people’s emotions on their ancestral home.” He added, “I was very happy to accompany the CEO, meet the proud family and the NRA engineers who will gain expertise on retrofitting through the project.”
Similarly, Charles R Callanan, Director of UNOPS, said, “Partnering with the NRA, DFID and local engineers and masons, we are pleased that the project will help strengthen and preserve the magnificent Nepali vernacular architecture, provide increased options for home owners and cascade retrofitting knowledge and skills beyond the 32 earthquake-affected districts.”
DFID is providing assistance of GBP 5 million to conduct on-the-job training in all 32 earthquake affected districts. According to Engineer Sushil Paudel, project manager of UNOPS which has been managing the retrofitting on-the-job training campaign, on-the-job training will be provided by retrofitting 1,000 model houses in 32 districts.
All required construction materials, technical support and construction labor wages will be covered for the retrofitting of first 100 houses, and technical support and construction support will be provided for the remaining 900 houses. Beneficiaries will have to arrange their own construction materials.
The houses will be selected by respective local governments.
There are 63,655 retrofitting beneficiaries in the earthquake affected districts. Among them, 19,316 have signed grant agreement and 18,377 have taken their first tranches. Retrofitting beneficiaries will get a grant of Rs. 100,000 in two tranches from the NRA.
The knowledge and skills acquired from retrofitting will help not only in the earthquake affected districts, but also in other districts to make the private houses earthquake resistant.
By Dipak Sapkota/NRA