Many quake survivors are still without proper homes

- ANISH TIWARI, SINDHUPALCHOK

Oct 19, 2017-Many earthquake displaced families in Sindhupalchok are still living in huts they had built in the aftermath of the disaster. Although they had received housing aid from the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), they used the amount to clear their debt and to buy daily essentials.  

 

Even those families, who rebuilt their quake-ravaged homes on their own, are now struggling to repay the loan. Sanumaya Tamang, an earthquake survivor from Syaule Village in Sangachowkgadhi Munici-pality, said her family spent the Rs 50,000 aid received as the first instalment of the housing reconstruction aid from the NRA to fulfil family necessities at the time. 

“We have no money to construct a new house. Even managing one square meal a day is difficult for us,” she said. The family of Santa Bahadur Shrestha of Golche Village in Jugal Rural Municipality started the construction of a new home months before the NRA started distributing the housing aid.

The family took loan from a local bank and used the amount to build a foundation for their new home. “The construction has not progressed much after that because we did not have any money. I have not repaid the previous loan, so there is no way the bank is going to issue further loan,” said Shrestha.

The family has been living in a small shack close to their incomplete home.

Some impoverished families have constructed small huts after receiving two instalments of housing aid from the NRA. They have no hope of getting the third batch of the aid, as the NRA has stated that the final tranche of the aid will be provided to only those families who have actually used the money to build new homes adhering to the stipulated building codes.  

“We applied for the second instalment of aid after we had built foundation for a new home. But we could not continue the construction works because there were loans to pay. We used a part of the aid money to build this hut instead and spent the remainder clearing the debt and buying essentials,” said Man Kumar Thami, a quake survivor from Phulpingkot.   

Yubaraj Poudel, chief of the Urban Development and Building Division Office (UDBDO), said many impoverished families in Sindhupalchok could not build new homes even after receiving the housing aid.

“Their financial standings were already in a bad shape before the earthquake. And when they lost their homes in the earthquake, they had to take loans to survive. By the time they got the aid, they had other pressing financial concerns to address and could not build new homes,”Poudel said. 

According to the UDBDO, 6,175 families have completed the construction of their houses, while 18,872 families have just started. 

There are hardly any family who did not have to take loans to rebuild their homes even after receiving the NRA housing aid.Rudra Malla of the District Coordination Committee of the NRA said that 15,614 families have applied for the second instalment of the aid and 2,541 families for the third and final instalment. He added that 2,281 families have already received the third instalment of the housing aid.The NRA has signed housing aid agreements with 75,304 households in Sindhupalchok.

Published: 19-10-2017 09:08

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