Flood-resistant houses in six months: Govt

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 14, 2017-The government has decided to build flood-resistant houses in flood-prone districts within next six months. 

The government’s decision comes a month after floods triggered by the heavy monsoon rains wreaked havoc in various Tarai districts. 

At least 159 people were killed in one of the worst water-induced disasters, which struck the southern plains in the second week of August, in many years. 

A meeting of the Central Natural Disaster Relief Committee (CNDRC) on Tuesday, chaired by Minister of Home Affairs Janardan Sharma, took the decision to built flood-resistant houses in the flood-prone districts. 

Minister Sharma has instructed the concerned bodies to come up with a plan for constructing such houses within six months. Addressing the meeting of CNDRC, which consists of various governmental and non-governmental agencies working in response and recovery phases of natural disasters, Minister Sharma said, “We should complete construction of houses within six months and rehabilitate flood victims as quickly as possible.” 

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, 43,433 houses were destroyed whereas 158,197 houses were temporarily damaged by floods. The August flood displaced nearly 21,000 families temporarily. Although, most of them have returned, many still remain displaced and are taking shelters in makeshift tents. 

In order to expedite the process, Minister Sharma said required budget would be released at the earliest. 

“After collecting details, we should start building houses with an aim to rehabilitate the flood-hit within six months,” said Minister Sharma, adding: “We will start by forming a committee within a week, which will then prepare estimation for houses with the flood-resistant base.”

The recovery of the flood victims in the aftermath of the recent disaster has been sluggish. The National Disaster Response Framework (NDRF) 2015 outlines roles and responsibilities to be carried out by various governmental and non-governmental agencies. These agencies need to work in specific clusters like health, food security, shelter, education and nutrition among others. 

The Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD), which should lead early recover cluster as per the NDRF, admitted that the recovery process has been slow due to limited resources. 

“We have been supporting in repairing of roads and rehabilitating the displaced families with the assistance from the local bodies,” said Suresh Adhikari, chief of the Municipality and Environment Division of MoFALD. “Local bodies have helped flood victims in rescue phase by providing food items, clothes and temporary shelters, but not much has been done in the recovery phase, especially in reconstruction.”

According to Adhikari, MoFALD has asked its line agencies to coordinate and help in the recovery phase.

During the CNDRC meeting, Minister Sharma also directed other ministries and departments to prepare detailed reports on people displaced by floods. 

Minister Sharma also pointed out the need to construct embankments and other structures under ‘People’s Embankment Project’, run under the Department of Water Induced Disaster Management (DWIDM), only after formulating a sustainable plan. Besides floods, the CNDRC meeting also discussed the possibility of minimising fire outbreaks in the Tarai districts by replacing thatched roofs with galvanised zinc sheets. 

Published: 14-09-2017 08:49

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