Damage to local body offices hits aid distribution

- BHADRA SHARMA, Kathmandu

May 15, 2015-

As most of the offices of the local bodies—Village Development Committees, District Development Committees and municipalities—in the earthquake-affected districts have been destroyed, getting the government announced relief package to the quake victims and their families could be problematic.

The quake-hit people need to furnish papers from the local bodies to avail of the aid. But as the office buildings of many local bodies have either been knocked down or severely damaged, they are not in a state of providing documents to the victims in an effective manner. The quake victims need to produce documents such as relationship verification and reference letters issued by the concerned local bodies to get the provisions.

Some District Administration Offices have already refused to provide relief to the earthquake victims in the absence of required documents.

“The damage in offices of local bodies has hampered our major works ranging from conducting our daily activities to issuing verification letters to the victims,” said Rishi Acharya, the head of the Disaster Management Sector of the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development.

The ministry estimates that as many as 78 VDC offices were destroyed and 400 damaged in the April 25 earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks. Five office buildings of the District Development Committee in Sindhupalchok, Dolakha, Rasuwa, Nuwakot and Solukhumbu and eight municipalities were also destroyed.  

Although the VDC offices destroyed in the earthquake have started works by setting up tents, they cannot function well with limited resources.

Meanwhile, works have not resumed in offices that were damaged in the earthquake after the employees refused to report to duty fearing their safety, the ministry officials said.

Other important offices under the ministry such as Vital Registration Department and Department of Local Infrastructures Development and Agriculture Roads have also been destroyed. Their files and records are still buried under the rubble.

The Vital Registration Department is responsible for issuing birth, marriage and death registration documents which establishes relationship between the deceased and their kin.

“It is not possible to recover all the documents from the debris so our daily works and relief could be affected,” said Acharya.

Authorities have emphasised the need for setting up temporary offices in the quake-affected districts and assigning technicians and VDC secretaries to smoothen service delivery.

“In the absence of elected representatives, the VDCs were already struggling to provide essential services to citizens. The damage done by the quake has further hit the services,” said Parshuram Upadhay of the National Association of VDC in Nepal.

The government has announced to provide Rs 200,000 each to those families that have lost their members in the earthquake and Rs 25,000 to those whose houses were damaged but could be repaired.

Published: 16-05-2015 11:08

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