Five years after the 2015 earthquake, Gorkha stands strong
Gorkha: Five years have shot by since a major earthquake hit Nepal. Gorkha -- the epicenter of the earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter Scale -- was almost completely destroyed by that earthquake in April 2015. Five years since that day, Gorkha now wears a different look.
Even today, people shiver with fear when they recollect the day of the earthquake. They now have no ruins to show the destruction caused by the earthquake and remember the loss they had to incur. The reason: all the destroyed villages now have new incarnations, all concrete structures.
A number of donor agencies extended their support to rebuild Gorkha. These international organizations focused mainly on rescue and relief efforts. It was only after three years since the earthquake that they started focusing on reconstruction works.
Since the budget was not spent through only one window, government offices do not have exact statistics as to how much money was spent in Gorkha for the reconstruction works. But the activities of various non-government agencies, investments by the government and the latest condition of the reconstruction suggest that several billion rupees was spent in Gorkha district in the past five years.
All the schools that were destroyed by the earthquake were rebuilt. A total of 452 classrooms have already been rebuilt. In addition to this, works are still underway to build playgrounds and toilets with all facilities. The school buildings that were made of stone and mud are now transformed into concrete buildings. Bishnu Prasad Mishra, chief of District Project Implementation Unit (Building), said since all the schools that have been rebuilt are earthquake-resistant, there is less to worry in case of another earthquake.
A total of 400 buildings of primary as well secondary schools in the district have been built so far, according to Mishra. It is easy to identify that attractive buildings in the villages were built after the earthquake. Although physical structures of the schools have improved, improvement in the teaching and learning activities is yet to be made.
In addition to schools, local health posts, various government offices, including police outposts and private houses, also have new structures. Most government offices have been shifted to new buildings, while some others are in the process of shifting. The number of health posts has also increased significantly in the district after the earthquake.
According to the National Reconstruction Authority, some 72,000 private houses were destroyed due to the earthquake. Around 90 percent of those destroyed houses have already been rebuilt with the grant provided by the NRA and these houses are earthquake-resistant. “As the houses built with stones and mud were destroyed by the earthquake, people have used iron rods and cement to rebuild their houses," said Sunita Shrestha, chief of the District Project Implementation Unit in Gorkha.
A number of drinking water projects have also been launched in the district after the earthquake. The number of locals working for non-government organizations increased significantly. The increased activities of people after the earthquake helped businesses to boom. The number of hotels have also increased in the district. Locals say that it would have taken at least another 10 years to achieve the level of development they see in the district now if there was no earthquake.
By Narahari Sapkota in Republica - April 24, 2020