Victims yet to get money to build shelters before rains

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Victims yet to get money to build shelters before rains

May 24, 2015-

Rajendra Kumar Basnet of Salu in Ramechhap waited for a month to get cash relief of Rs 15,000 meant for purchasing corrugated iron sheet and other construction materials to build a temporary shelter for his family. Losing his hope to get the money in time, Basnet has already started to construct the shelter on his own.

“I did not see the possibility of getting the cash relief soon as parties are wrangling over relief in the district. That’s why I have started constructing a temporary shelter on my own,” he said. His family members remain safe as they were out of home but six of his goats were buried in debris.

Basnet is now homeless with two of his houses collapsed in the devastating April 25 earthquake. Like Basnet, 215 families taking shelter under tents in

the village as their houses have been destroyed completely are also yet to receive the cash relief.

In the district alone, over 47,000 families who lost their houses are waiting for the government aid to construct temporary shelter before the monsoon starts in mid-June.

The District Administration Office, which is supposed to distribute cash relief, has not yet started its work arguing that it is yet to verify damaged houses.

Local bodies such as village development committees and municipalities are asked to figure out details of houses which are destroyed and those that are partially damaged. “They [local bodies] are still updating details of damaged houses as aftershocks continue to damage previously standing houses,” said Chief District Officer Shambhu Prasad Marasini.

When asked about cash relief distribution, Marasini said he was not in position to speak out clearly. “We are yet to forge an agreement on how to channelise cash relief to victims. Identity cards for victims have not yet been finalised,” he said.

The government has announced that the immediate cash relief of Rs 15,000 for temporary shelter construction is part of Rs 200,000 assistance to be provided for each family whose house was destroyed in the quake. For the immediate relief, the government has already released Rs 5.53 billion to local authorities.

Meanwhile, local authorities are already under pressure from victims as the government has instructed not to provide the cash relief without first distributing identity cards.  Some District Administration Offices are accused of turning down victims’ plea for immediate relief.  “Some victims are repeatedly approaching us saying that tarpaulins distributed by the government have already damaged. We are requesting them to manage such things on their own for a while,” said Koshhari Niraula, chief district officer in Nuwakot.

Niraula said they too have not started distributing the cash relief as finalising the ID cards was delayed due to some technical glitches. The district, where around 60,000 houses are found to have been destroyed, has received has received Rs 250 million for immediate relief.

Till date, the government has provided 53,398 quintals of rice, 323,347 tents and tarpaulins, 153quintals of salt, 6,454 quintals of dry food, 108,283 cases of drinking water but providing the cash for the construction of temporary shelter still remains a tall order. Former bureaucrats say political parties’ non-cooperation to the government and lack of proper coordination among stakeholders are the main reasons behind the delay in relief distribution. “All stakeholders, CDOs, Army, I/NGOs and political parties are engaged in relief distribution at the same time while party leaders in the quake-hit districts are wrangling over providing maximum relief to their cadres,” said Shreekant Regmi, former Home Secretary.

relief distribution

Food supplies

- Rice – 53,398 quintals

- Tents and tarpaulins: 323,347

- Salt: 153 quintals

- Dry food: 6,454 quintals

- Water: 108,283 cartons

Cash released for shelter

- Rs 5.53 billion 

Published: 25-05-2015 07:04

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