On April 25, 2015, Nepal was ravaged by an earthquake which measured 7.8 Richter in the scale. This natural disaster took 9000 lives and injured 22,000 people and displaced millions of people. Public schools in rural area which had limited infrastructure, government buildings and many historic buildings disintegrated in rubble in the earthquake. Today, after three years later millions of people in the rural parts of hard hit areas are still in temporarily build houses despite of government effort and help from humanitarian aid.

Approximately NRs 706 billion (US$ 7 billion), which amounts to one third of the Gross Domestic Product was damaged due to earthquake. The government initially estimated NRs 700 billion would be required for the reconstruction. Now, with the recent commitment of the government to provide NRs 300,000 for rebuilding of houses instead on 200,000 has escalated the rebuilding cost to NRs 900 billion. Recently, a white paper was unveiled by Finance Minister Yubraj Khatiwada on the Current Economic Situation of Nepal on behalf of newly elected government on Friday the April 3rd 2018. The paper says there is a shortfall of Rs100 billion to complete reconstruction of private homes, portraying the harsh situation of rebuilding efforts. “There is the need for looking out for additional resource,” the white paper reads.

After the quake, government received the total pledge of $1.97billion in grant and $2.13 billion loan. So far according to the NRA data, the agreement reached with donors is for $1.55 billion grant and $1.51 billion loan. India pledged the largest aid commitment of $ 1 billion. It accounts the 75 percent in the line of credit but unfortunately mobilization of this pledge this is yet to commence. In addition, NRA has not initiated the agreement process with nine country that have pledge the support. This has hampered the resource mobilization process. The rebuilding process has also been painstaking with only over 1 billion been expended in reconstruction and rebuilding in past three years. Since the beginning, only 112,453 private houses have been rebuilt and currently 376,027 private homes are under construction. NRA targets to rebuild 400,000 in total by the end of this fiscal year. A total of 279,325 displaced families have received the second tranche of rebuilding grant; 65,504 have claimed the third and final tranche.

The primary focus of the government has been rebuilding the school buildings and many children are back to the school now. The government has rebuilt a third of the school buildings that were destroyed or partially damaged. Despite of the government preeminent focus 6000 government schools still needs to be rebuilt as around 90% of schools were damaged in worst hit areas. The success made by NGO is also commendable in rebuilding schools. As many as 1050 schools have been constructed, while 126 are in the process of construction with support from 180 non-profits (Billy, 2018). Additional schools will be constructed by the end of this year earthquake-affected districts of Dolakha, Sindupalchok, Kavrepalanchok, Rasuwa and Gorkha. The rebuilding process is not only focused in the numbers. They are also ensuring the constructed buildings meet all the building code of conduct and are earthquake resistant. For this the structures have been analyzed by engineers and taken into consideration the seismic load and building design during construction. In the meanwhile, the retrofitting of the existing school building is being carried out to ensure that students feel fearless when they go to school.

Several health institutions in 14 districts suffered severe damage which affected the delivery of health services during the disaster. To restore proper health services in the damaged health facilities 586 health centers has been constructed so far and 180 are under construction.

Rebuilding and reconstruction work have been in process but the efforts have been in the snail’s pace. One of the major achievement post earthquake has been promulgation of constitution which was followed by two tire elections within three years. The unprecedented victory of Nepal Communist Party (coalition of two major party CPM ULM and Nepal Maoist party) has given sheer hope in the rebuilding and reconstruction process. This shall ease the efficient mobilization of the resources creating an exponential impact on the reconstruction, rebuilding and restoration of national heritage site.

An article written by Niroj Shrestha from Shikharapur CLC