Post-Earthquake Reconstruction in Western Nepal to Cost Rs 63.58 Billion

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Post-Earthquake Reconstruction in Western Nepal to Cost Rs 63.58 Billion

Kathmandu: The initial estimate for rebuilding structures damaged by three recent earthquakes in western Nepal suggests a budget of Rs 63.58 billion will be necessary.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority (NDRRMA) conducted a preliminary damage assessment valuing the destruction at approximately Rs 58 billion, with projected reconstruction costs exceeding Rs 63.5 billion.

Bharat Mani Pandey, Chief of NDRRMA’s Policy, Planning, and Monitoring Division, confirmed that reconstruction efforts are advancing following the completion of the preliminary study.

An earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale, centered at Ramidanda in Jajarkot district, struck on November 3, 2023, claiming 154 lives and injuring 366 others. Another tremor, measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale, hit Bajhang on October 3, 2023, resulting in one fatality and 30 injuries. Prior to these events, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.6 on the Richter scale occurred in Doti on November 8, 2022, causing six fatalities and eight injuries.

According to NDRRMA data, these earthquakes damaged 95,787 houses, with an estimated value of Rs 43.39 billion. Additionally, 204 school buildings, 70 government and public buildings, 11 cultural heritage sites, nearly 200 kilometers of roads, and 121 irrigation projects were also affected.

The Jajarkot earthquake caused the most significant human and property damage, with over 86,000 houses affected.

NDRRMA's preliminary assessment estimates a total reconstruction cost of Rs 63.58 billion, allocated as follows: Rs 52.46 billion for private houses, government buildings, and health, education, and cultural structures; Rs 7.18 billion for other infrastructure sectors; and Rs 1.73 billion for the enterprise sector.

The reconstruction process is underway, with plans to seek approval from the Finance Ministry for the required budget after finalizing the detailed damage assessment concept. This will facilitate retrofitting, reconstruction, and resettlement of earthquake-damaged structures in Jajarkot, Bajhang, and Doti.

Anil Pokharel, NDRRMA Chief Executive, confirmed that reconstruction activities will proceed, as the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Executive Committee, chaired by the home minister, has approved the 'Retrofitting, Reconstruction, and Resettlement Grant Procedure for Private Houses of Disaster Affected, 2081'.

Beneficiaries will be grouped into 'A', 'B', and 'C' categories, with housing reconstruction activities prioritized accordingly. Local levels will play a significant role in the process, including preliminary loss recording and beneficiary identification by the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committees. Agreements between beneficiaries and ward chairpersons will follow, with a reconstruction completion timeline of two years post-agreement signing. -- RSS

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