पुनर्निर्माण अपडेट

Grant to aid rebuilding of monsoon-damaged houses

Kathmandu: Private houses damaged beyond repair by monsoon-related disasters last year will be built under a modality similar to the one adopted to rebuild houses lost to the devastating 2015 earthquake, officials said.

Reconstruction of homes ravaged by monsoon-induced disasters such as landslides and floods will soon be implemented as a committee led by the Minister for Home Affairs has approved it.

“Working procedures to rebuild private houses completely damaged by monsoon-induced disaster has been prepared,” Janardan Gautam, spokesperson for National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority, told the Post.

According to the procedures, families across 77 districts that have lost their houses to monsoon-related disasters will be eligible for government grants. “The modality will be similar to the one we adopted to rebuild private housing in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake,” added Gautam.

Families that lost their houses to disasters after June 12, when the monsoon entered the country, will be eligible to apply for a grant to rebuild their house. This includes the houses damaged since the landslide in Durlung, Parbat, that took place on the same day. The beneficiaries will get financial support in three instalments.

Last year’s monsoon was said to be the deadliest in many years in terms of loss of lives. In the four months between June 12, 2020 and October 16, 2020, 367 died, 100 others went missing and 325 suffered injuries due to various monsoon-induced disasters, according to official figures. As many as 293 people died due to landslides, followed by 39 due to floods and 35 due to lightning in the same period.

The authority’s another set of data on losses due to various disasters from April 13, 2020 till present, shows that property worth over Rs50 million was lost to landslides and assets worth Rs69 million to floods.

However, the government does not have data on the number of private houses damaged by monsoon-induced disasters.

According to Gautam, the district disaster management committees in the respective districts have gathered preliminary statistics on houses damaged by monsoon-related catastrophes.

“The district-level committees have initial estimates on houses that require rebuilding. As the working procedures came out only recently, the list of beneficiaries needs to be finalized,” said Gautam. “Only when the district level authorities have finalized and verified the beneficiaries’ list, will we be able to tell the total number of houses which need to be rebuilt.”

As per the guidelines, beneficiaries selected in the mountainous districts will get Rs. 500,000 in grants, followed by Rs. 400,000 for hilly region beneficiaries and Rs300,000 for Tarai districts.

All three tiers of the government will be responsible to allocate the reconstruction budget to affected families. While metropolitan and sub-metropolitan bodies will cover 20 percent of the total budget, municipalities will provide 15 percent and rural municipalities will contribute 10 percent.

Likewise, 30 percent of the cost will be borne by the respective provincial governments, and the remaining will come from the central government.

“We will prescribe some models of housing the beneficiaries can choose from. Like the houses built under government grants under the earthquake reconstruction program, these new houses should also be landslide and flood resistant,” said Gautam. “Technicians will inspect the construction work and approve the construction plan.”

Verified beneficiaries will get Rs50,000 soon after signing the reconstruction agreement. As the second tranche, beneficiaries from the mountain districts will get Rs250,000 whereas those from the hill districts and the Tarai region will receive Rs200,000 and Rs 150,000 after the technicians finish their inspection.
“Since construction costs are higher in the mountains, beneficiaries in the mountains will receive a bigger grant compared to their counterparts in the hills and the Tarai,,” said Gautam.

The remaining amount will be released after the construction is completed and technicians verify the same. However, authorities do not have a timeline for the construction process even as disaster-hit communities await government response for rehabilitation for several months.

In Kailali, nearly 100 landslide surviving families have moved to the Tarai plains and set up temporary camps inside a community forest.

“Once the district-level authorities finalize the list of eligible beneficiaries, government bodies concerned will start distributing installments. We are waiting for the budget and the list of beneficiaries,” said Gautam. “Our aim is to rebuild all the houses during the pre-monsoon period.” 

​​​​​​​By Chandan Kumar Mandal in The Kathmandu Post – January 30, 2021

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