Over half a million damaged houses surveyed so far

- Bhadra Sharma, Kathmandu

Apr 1, 2016- Nearly three months after the start of the detailed damage assessment of quake-destroyed houses and infrastructure, surveyors have completed verification of over half a million (over 80 percent) homes. 

Officials from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), the office responsible for leading the detailed damage assessment, said works related to re-verification of private damaged houses “is coming to an end” in all worst-affected districts, except three in Kathmandu Valley. 
The assessment is a precondition that the government has agreed with donors to release housing grant. The government has set the target of completing the assessment by the end of April. “We can complete surveys in the 11 worst-affected districts out of 14 except in some mountainous villages,” said Rudra Suwal, deputy director general of the CBS. 

According to Suwal, CBS teams have already surveyed more than 550,000 houses. An estimated 20,000 homes are being surveyed each day. 
The government began the assessment in January following complaints that “number of fake victims had increased to claim the state-announced relief package” and has deployed more than 1,500 trained engineers for the purpose. The CBS is yet to start the survey in Kathmandu Valley. The housing re-verification is said to begin in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur immediately after the surveyors complete their work outside the Valley.
Immediately after the quake, and as part of the Post Disaster Needs Assessment, the government had collected details on the extent of damage caused to houses and infrastructure by the quakes before providing cash relief to quake-hit households. 
The government though had concluded that 570,000 households were rendered homeless, the number dramatically increased to 770,000 when the government announced various relief schemes. 
After distributing Rs15,000 each to household rendered homeless as immediate relief and Rs10,000 each as winter relief, the government has announced another Rs200,000 each for rebuilding. Quake victims will be entitled to subsidised bank loan to rebuild their damaged houses. 
Under CBS guidance, the UN-OPS has mobilised Health Research and Social Development Forum (HERDF) and Kathmandu Living Lab to conduct detailed damage assessment in 14 districts worst hit by the quake. Locals have complained of duplication as well. Some genuine victims were said to have been left out. Reconstruction of damaged houses has been delayed due to lack of “exact information” about damaged houses and infrastructure.
The National Reconstruction (NRA) is preparing to establish a resource centre in each quake-affected district by mid-April to distribute housing aid to earthquake victims. 

Published: 01-04-2016 08:24

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