Dec 8, 2015

The National Planning Commission has earmarked Rs 1.5 billion for reconstruction of hospital and health facilities damaged by the April 25 earthquake and its aftershocks.

The NPC, which has been assigned to oversee reconstruction works until the National Reconstruction Authority Bill is approved by Parliament, allocated the amount to rebuild the health facilities.

Mahendra Shrestha, chief of Policy, Planning and International Cooperation Division at the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), said the amount would be disbursed in the districts soon to begin the reconstruction works. "At the moment, we have no idea on working modality and mobilisation of these funds. But we will figure that out soon.

The earmarked amount should suffice for now," said Shrestha.
According to government's Post-Disaster Needs Assessment, infrastructure of five hospitals, 12 Primary Health Care Centres (PHCCs), 417 Health Posts (HPs) and 12 other facilities in the public sector were destroyed by the earthquake which also caused partial damage to a total of 701 public health facility structures. "Similarly, the private sector has reported that 16 health facilities, including those operated by NGOs and community institutions, were destroyed with another 64 partially damaged," the document reads.

Sindhupalchok, the worst-affected of the 14 districts hit by the quake, witnessed 62 health posts being completely obliterated. Besides, the district hospital along with three Primary Health Care Centres were damaged. The biggest natural disaster to hit the country in almost 80 years also destroyed the district hospital and a PHC in Nuwakot where 43 health posts were also damaged.

Meanwhile, the MoHP said they have reach agreements with around 30 organisations, including NGOs, INGOs, that have pledged over Rs3 billion to establish new health facilities using prefab and other materials. "Some of them have already started working while others are in process," said Shrestha. A total of 8,978 people were killed with 22,323 injured in the disaster.

Barpak constructing 'integrated settlement'

Earthquake survivors of Barpak, Gorkha, the epicentre of the deadly earthquake of April 25, have started building an "integrated settlement". More than seven months after the quake, locals here have decided to take matters into their own hands, saying that there were no signs of any help coming from the government.

As part of their rebuilding efforts, they are clearing the debris of the destroyed structures. They are also repairing the roads that were destroyed by the earthquake.

Apuni Gurung, a local, said the village can be developed if all villagers work together. "We believe in developing our village on our own rather than relying on others," she said.

There are around 1,470 houses in Barpak area. Locals are busy constructing foot trails and roads from Rarungkhola to the village. They aim to connect all the houses with the road. Another local Jit Bahadur Ghale said the villagers are going to develop an integrated settlement. "We want to re-establish the village as a tourist destination," said Jit Bahadur, adding that they want to forget the earthquake and the miseries it brought and want to start afresh. Arjun Karki, Secretary at the Ministry of Urban Development, said the villagers are going to develop the area as an "integrated settlement". "A technical team has been mobilised to evaluate the reconstruction cost," he said.

District Disaster Mana-gement Committee also has decided to build an Earthquake Memorial Park in Barpak.
Hari Bahadur Ghale, district chairman of Nepali Congress, said they will also install a plaque with the names of those who lost their lives in the quake. Some quake-ravaged houses will be converted into a museum. For this purpose, locals have not cleared the debris from Kamigaun. "Kamigaun area will be developed as an earthquake museum," said Hari Bahadur.