Nepal 360: Why Has the Reconstruction Been So Slow?

Reporter   BHRIKUTI RAI   @bbhrikuti
Videographer   BIKRAM RAI   @rumdaleerai

Two years after more than 800,000 buildings were destroyed by an earthquake in Nepal, more than half a million families are still without a proper home, and hundreds of thousands of children are attending makeshift schools. Most have just spent a second winter in corrugated metal structures or other temporary homes, and the next round of monsoon rains are set to begin in a few weeks.

But in the days after the 2015 quake, the international community committed over $4 billion to help. What’s happened since?

What is Nepal’s education system like?
Is there anything I can do to help?

An Al Jazeera article from April 2016 describes a chaotic and mismanaged first year after the earthquake.

Families whose homes were too damaged to live in were initially promised the equivalent of about $2,000, in three stages. After damage assessments, more than 600,000 families were registered to receive the payments of approximately $500, $1,000, and $500. By January of 2017, however, only 41,000 families had rebuilt their homes, according to government figures reported by the Kathmandu Post.

After a year and a half of frustratingly slow reconstruction, the CEO of the National Reconstruction Authority was fired in January and replaced with the man who briefly led the agency when it was initially formed – a veteran of the national planning commission. LocalNepalToday considers the political maneuverings, wondering if the change of leadership might be “a turning point after which the 600,000 earthquake victims will finally get the reconstruction grants in their hands to rebuild their homes?”

In February, a Parliamentary committee demanded that all homes be rebuilt before the start of the rainy season, expected in May or June. They cited “inadequate mobilisation of technical experts and masons to aid rebuilding of the damaged households and poor coordination between the ministries and concerned agencies” as key factors slowing the reconstruction, according to the Kathmandu Post.

In the 360-degree video below, OneWorld and Blank Spot Project take you to the mountains of Sindhupalchuk and the bustling streets of Kathmandu to explore what it’s like for the tens of thousands of school children trying to continue their education in temporary classrooms and to rebuild their lives from temporary shelters.

Article links and summaries compiled by Jeffrey Allen (editors@oneworld.org)