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Nepal health centres, schools await reconstruction 5 yrs after quake


Kathmandu: Even five years after the devastating high-intensity earthquake that struck Nepal killing nearly 9,000 people, health centres and schools in the Himalayan nation still await reconstruction, a media report said on Saturday.

The country marked the fifth anniversary of the deadly disaster on Friday, and the government was still struggling to ensure funds for the reconstruction projects, said The Kathmandu Post report.

The buildings of the academic institutions and the health facilities that should have been in place last year were still nowhere near complete, it added.

A report by the country’s National Reconstruction Authority shows out of 7,553 schools that needed reconstruction, only 5,598 have been completed fully or partially.

About 26 per cent (2,015) of the quake-damaged schools were yet to be rebuilt.

The Central Level Project Implementation Unit (Education), an entity under the authority formed to reconstruct school buildings, had sought 11 billion Nepalese rupees to rebuild 1,806 public school buildings in the current fiscal year.

The Ministry of Finance, however, allocated only 9.23 billion Nepalese rupees, of which 8 billion was in loans pledged by the Indian government through the Exim Bank, The Kathmandu Post said.

“If the needed budget is made available, we expect the reconstruction project of school buildings to be completed in next two years,” Dilip Shekhar Shrestha, deputy chief at the unit, told The Kathmandu Post.

Meanwhile, the rebuilding works of the earthquake-ravaged health facilities were also lagging far behind the schedule.

Out of 1,197 health centres, only 669 (56 per cent) have been completed so far while 145 of them are mid-construction.

The records of the national rebuilding authority show that construction of 32 per cent of the quake-damaged health infrastructure has not even started.

“We have missed the deadline for the reconstruction of schools and health facilities, but we have made good progress in the reconstruction of individual homes,” Sushil Gyewali, the chief executive officer of the authority, told The Kathmandu Post.

Issuing a statement on the fifth anniversary of the disaster, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Friday said though the reconstruction works have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, his government was committed to completing the remaining tasks at the earliest.

Besides the 8,964 victims killed in the earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, 21,952 people were injured in Nepal, while 3.5 million were rendered homeless.

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