JICA’s aid scheme rekindles hope among quake survivors

- Rajesh Khanal, SINDHUPALCHOK

Apr 21, 2016-

Earthquake survivor Sanchi Tamang of Irkhu-5, Sindhupalchok district has been trying for almost a year to get help to rebuild her home which was flattened by the April 25 tremor. 

She has been living in a makeshift hut made of zinc sheets, and said that the villagers suffered in the scorching heat of summer and storms during the windy season.

Tamang said that the villagers had received Rs25,000 per household from the government after the earthquake, but nothing since then from the state or other organizations. She spoke bitterly about the slow pace of the government’s reconstruction programme. A total of 30 households in the area were badly hit by last year’s earthquake.

Tamang said that their hopes had been rekindled after Jica International Cooperation Nepal (JICA) started a livelihood programme in their area recently. According to her, JICA has been providing short-term training to the local people to increase the productivity of their vegetable farms.

JICA started reconstruction and livelihood development programmes in most of the earthquake-affected districts including Sindhupalchok in March. 

Kazutaka Isaka, programme formulation advisor on earthquake rehabilitation and recovery at JICA Nepal, said they were focusing on capacity building and reconstruction of infrastructure like schools, agriculture offices and drinking water systems in the district. 

Japan has earmarked 430 million Japanese yen for the reconstruction projects. The funds are being used through 16 non-governmental organisations in the earthquake affected areas. 

The Jugal-Thalkharka-Holche-Chautara Drinking Water Project is one of the JICA-supported programmes. The international organisation will be spending Rs60-70 million to rebuild the project’s pipeline system which mainly supplies drinking water to people in Chautara.

Shambhu Raj Khanal, chief of the Drinking Water and Sanitation Division Office, Sindhupalchok, said JICA would be rebuilding the damaged water treatment plant and the 18-km-long water transmission line connecting Daregaunda and Thalkharka. The project is expected to benefit 7,000 households of Chautara. 

Similarly, JICA will be providing funds and technical support to rebuild the building of the District Agriculture Office and seed and food warehouses damaged by the earthquake. According to Hem Sharma, officer at the District Agriculture Development Office, the damage to agriculture was valued at Rs1.79 billion. “The support will help to provide food safety throughout the district,” he said.

Pawan Kumar Aryal, civil engineer for JICA’s reconstruction project, said the international organisation would be investing Rs30 million in building reconstruction, Rs30 million in seed storage plants and Rs15 million in a building for children welfare and women rehabilitation. 

According to him, they have called for bids and plan to complete the reconstruction project within eight months.

Meanwhile, JICA has finished repairing the walls of 11 community schools in Dhading district. Of the 12 such schools in the district, 10 were damaged by the earthquake. According to JICA, it has started repairing 14 other schools under the second phase of its programme.

Puja Acchami, a class six student at Jwalamukhi Lower Secondary School in Thatichaur, Dhading, said the students who had to study under tents were now relieved after their classrooms were repaired.

Published: 21-04-2016 07:49

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