Nepal unveils $8-B post-quake reconstruction

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NEW DELHI: A year after two devastating earthquakes struck the country, Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli unveiled Thursday an $8-billion plan to complete all reconstruction work within five years.

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Presenting the plan in Parliament, Oli said the budget will be used to rebuild houses and infrastructure. The amount is higher than the previous estimate of $6 billion.

The increased estimate follows a fresh assessment of destroyed and damaged houses, office buildings, schools, hospitals and heritage structures.

“This plan would give a clear roadmap to government, non-government and donor agencies on issues related to reconstruction and rehabilitation,” Oli said.

The government has been criticized by international agencies for failing to prepare a plan to use the $4.1 billion assured by donors and friendly countries in June last year.

The quakes on April 25 and May 12 claimed nearly 9,000 lives and destroyed more than 800,000 houses. More than 700,000 affected families are still living in makeshift tents and shelters in the 14 worst affected districts.

The first installments of compensation of $1,900 for each damaged house, which the government had announced a year ago, were distributed just last month.

Oli survived a bid to topple his government earlier this month after the Maoists, a key coalition partner, accused him of failing to do anything for earthquake reconstruction and implementation of the country’s new Constitution.

TNS

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