KATHMANDU: Tens of thousands of Nepalis left homeless after April’s massive earthquake will have to spend years living in temporary shelters, the country’s reconstruction chief has told AFP.
Sushil Gyewali said it would take another two to three years to rebuild houses damaged or destroyed in the April 25 earthquake, which killed nearly 9,000 people.
“Certain people might be in a situation to rebuild their houses before monsoon season but we cannot expect that all the houses will be reconstructed… it will take around two to three years (more),” said Gyewali, head of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA).
He said in an interview late Wednesday that the first house will be inaugurated in March.
Tens of thousands of quake survivors are still living in flimsy tents in subzero temperatures nearly nine months after the 7.8-magnitude quake, which destroyed more than half a million homes in the Himalayan country.
A $4.1 billion reconstruction fund was set up in June, but work on rebuilding was delayed by lawmakers’ failure to pass a bill conferring legal status on the NRA.
Gyewali will oversee the fund and has vowed swift action to help quake victims, who have received little aid beyond an initial $150-per-household government payout.
“Certainly (reconstruction)… has been delayed—it is true and everyone knows it. But we have to start immediately and we have to make up the time,” he said.