People’s Caravan on Reconstruction and Recovery
People's Caravans were taken out by earthquake affected community in Dolakha, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchok, Dhading and Gorkha districts. Around 400 people attended the event in each district. Local organisations working in the districts lead the process. Landless, people living in the Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps, community social organizations, media, and NGOs/INGOs took part in the caravan to pressurize the government, NRA to act on their demand for resettlement and land rights. The Peoples Caravan then converted into corner meets which were attended and addressed by representatives of government agencies, political parties and civil society organizations, among others. The Caravan urged the government to address the issues of the earthquake affected landless squatters and IDPs. Following the corner meets, people of earthquake affected community submitted their demands to local administration in the respective districts same day.
National People’s Conference on Reconstruction
The Caravan team from different districts joined caravan on Kathmandu on January 17, 2017 which concluded in Kathmandu through a national people’s conference on January. Around 500 affected people including representatives of civil society organisations, members of parliament of various political parties participated in the Caravan which started from (in front of) the Lalitpur Sub- metropolitan Office, Pulchowk, Lalitpur. Peoples Caravan went to different thoroughfares of the city before it converged into the People's Conference at Saugal Tole in Patan. The conference was addressed by CA members of various political parties, representatives of civil society organizations and earthquake survivors from nine districts. CA members expressed their commitment to address the problems and concerns of the earthquake affected people and to raise the issues in the parliament. The mass meet endorsed a 12-point Lalitpur Declaration which has raised various problems and issues of reconstruction and draws attention of the government authority to address them early. More than 30 civil society organizations extended their solidarity and the event was organized in cooperation with them.
National Conference on ‘Rebuilding Nepal: Protecting and Promoting the Rights of the Affected Communities/Barpak Conference'
National level conference on ‘Rebuilding Nepal: Protecting and Promoting the Rights of the Affected Communities’ (Barpak Conference) was organized by HAMI together with Nepal Federation of National Journalist, Gorkha chapter and District Disaster Relief Committee (DDRC) Gorkha in collaboration with Himalayan Conservation Group (HCG), CSRC, National Network of Disaster Management Committees (NCDMC) and Oxfam at Barpak, Gorkha. It was symbolic conference organized at epicenter to reinforce Nepal’s commitment to build back better after the devastating earthquake to the national and global audience. Parliamentarians, representing three major political parties, political leaders, civil society leaders, human rights activities, dalit activists, development experts and district based administrators, representatives of NGOs and INGOs jointly passed the 11-point Barpak declaration, calling for the need to accelerate reconstruction. Different stakeholders expressed solidarity to accelerate the reconstruction work during the conference. The conference helped to listen to the grievances of people and other stakeholders for the revival of the affected area.
Mar 9, 2016- In two months, it will be a year since the Great Earthquake struck the country. It is a matter of national shame that thousands of Nepalis who survived the worst calamity in living memory were then left to fend for themselves under makeshift tents during a difficult monsoon and a harsh winter. Not all made it through; many died of exposure.
What is even more shocking is that it is now almost certain earthquake victims will have to endure yet another monsoon out in the open. Sushil Gyewali, the Chief Executive of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), said on Monday that the reconstruction of earthquake-ravaged houses would not be completed before the monsoon.
Gyewali cited delay in staff recruitment at the NRA and reassessment to finalise “genuine” earthquake victims as major reasons. He said little to explain why these processes were being delayed, except that his appointment took long and that post-earthquake reconstruction is a time-consuming process.
These are not reasonable explanations—at least not after almost 11 months of the tragedy. There is a pattern to this. From the outset, officials have been making one excuse after another for failing to start reconstruction works.
First they said the monsoon last year made it difficult to reach remote areas. Then the task of constitution drafting diverted attention away from reconstruction. After that came the blockade, which led to a dearth of essential supplies. The official explanations conveniently mask the underlying incompetence. The government took eight months to even get the NRA off the ground—Gyewali was appointed on December 26 last year—simply because the political parties could not agree on who would lead it. Still, the reconstruction body has not shown the urgency that the calamity demands.
The NRA had earlier set February 24 as the date for starting aid distribution in Singati, Dolakha, one of the worst-hit districts, but moved it to March 4 as Gyewali left the country as part of PM Oli’s delegation to India. There have been deeply entrenched systemic problems too. The aid distribution process has not been finalised and the NRA has missed a second deadline. This time new reasons were cited—the Nepali Congress convention and red tape in releasing the government fund of Rs65 billion for local bodies. The pretexts that officials keep cooking up are ridiculous. It will not be surprising if they once again cite the upcoming monsoon as reasons for further delays.
Quake victims are desperately awaiting government approval to start rebuilding their houses. Many of them would have done so before the winter but for the rigid government policy that denied the assistance of Rs200,000 per household to those who constructed their houses before the official commencement of the reconstruction works—apparently to ensure standards for building safety.
The frustration of earthquake survivors over the never-ending delay is mounting, as mentioned in a report based on a survey of 14 quake-affected districts. The report ‘Nepal Earthquake 2015: Building Resilience, Rebuilding Lives’ by Humanitarian Accountability Monitoring Initiative, a consortium of various civil society organisations, warns of health risks if survivors continued living in temporary shelters for a prolonged period. It is imperative that the government stop inventing pretexts and accord the highest national priority to reconstruction.
Source: http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com (09-03-2016)
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