Long-delayed $4 billion earthquake reconstruction to begin in Nepal

Nepal this month will begin much-delayed reconstruction of about 1 million homes and buildings damaged by last year’s earthquake and will also begin to collect the billions of dollars pledged by foreign donors.

Sushil Gyewali, who was recently appointed to head the National Reconstruction Authority, said reconstruction work will formally begin on January 16, 2016.

Officials will send 1,500 engineers to villages in all of the 40 affected districts to take detailed damage surveys. They will train technicians to build safer houses, coordinate between the government offices and also collect money from donors.

Nepal has been criticized for delaying reconstruction work because of disagreements among political parties, the country’s new constitution, ethnic protests and severe fuel shortages while people are still living in tents in cold mountain villages.

Nearly 9,000 people were killed in the April 25, 2015 earthquake and aftershocks. Nearly a million houses and buildings were damaged.

Foreign donors have pledged $4.1 billion for earthquake reconstruction, but only a small amount of that money has reached Nepal because it took months to set up the new agency to deal with the task.

Photo by Sumita Roy Dutta

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