The April 2015 earthquake devastated Dhading district. Chandra Bahadur Tamang, a 39-year-old father with a young family from Dhunibesi, smiled enthusiastically as he explained how he longed to rebuild and redevelop Dhunibesi. He was elected Ward Chief two years ago by the community who recognized his good will and determination as well as his overall leadership abilities.
Tamang first became acquainted with the term ‘retrofitting’ after the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) identified houses which were fully or partially damaged - the latter in need of retrofitting. However, it was only after the UNOPS Consortium distributed manuals on the retrofitting approach through their information clinics that Tamang gained clarity and confidence in the retrofitting process and the support available.
Since the retrofitting program began in Dhunibesi, four houses with in-kind support from the ‘Seismic Retrofitting of Unsafe Housing in Nepal’ project have been completed, with three ongoing and a further four planned to start soon.
Highly committed to the retrofitting program, Tamang has visited the partially-damaged and completed houses within Dhunibesi several times. He also invited the local Mayor to the inauguration of the Model House, and discussed the retrofitting progress and positive outcomes during ward meetings. Furthermore, Tamang contacted two TV channels (Avenue and Himalayan TV), to film and broadcast the retrofitting construction - focusing on its engineering aspects. Due to the challenging topography of the area both channels used drones to capture the footage.
Tamang has made efforts to communicate broader awareness of retrofitting. When asked about the importance of the retrofitting approach, Tamang replies, “An approach which upkeeps the traditional features of our houses in a cost effective way is useful.” Tamang continues, “Our grandchildren and future generations to come can now see how our houses were built.”
Tamang is grateful for the retrofitting process and the guidance the UNOPS Consortium have provided along the way. He is also thrilled that through the retrofitting program and the need for site materials to be delivered, the Dhunibesi roads have greatly improved.
There are 18 houses in Dhunibesi which could be retrofitted, according to the NRA assessment. The UNOPS Consortium is retrofitting 10 of them. For the remaining eight, Tamang plans to request a grant from the government or he will provide these eight homeowners with Rs. 100,000 support, so that all the partially-damaged houses within Dhunibesi can be made structurally stable and seismically resilient.
From Build Change