Being an earthquake-prone country as well, Japan understands very well its affects, consequences and difficulties in Nepal’s recovery, which is why we have been giving utmost priority for support. The Government of Japan and JICA committed about 35 billion JPY (34 billion rupees) for reconstruction and have provided seamless support since the disaster.
Among our on-going activities, two major projects are housing and public school reconstruction. The Community Mobilisation Program (CMP) to promote collective reconstruction in Sindhupalchok and Gorkha has shown remarkable results: 83% reconstruction starting rate and 40% completion rate.
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The rehabilitation of about 90 public schools has been completed, and 237 public secondary schools in six districts including Gorkha, Dhading and Lalitpur are ongoing. We are also supporting the reconstruction of other important public facilities such as Bir Hospital and Paropakar Maternity Hospital in Kathmandu, bridges on the Gorkha to Barpak road, etc.
Our support is not just limited to financial assistance, we also provide technical cooperation such as mason and inspection training for safer housing, or livelihood training for affected farmers – benefiting more than 13,000 people.
We have assigned two heritage restoration experts at the Department of Archaeology to support the rehabilitation of Kathmandu and Patan Durbar Square. We are also helping in strengthening DRRM (Disaster Risk Reduction Management) with support for areas such as hazard maps for Sindhupalchok and Gorkha, future damage estimation in future earthquakes in Kathmandu Valley, the Kathmandu Valley Resilience Plan, a 20-year strategy for developing urban resilience, and municipality disaster recovery plans and guidelines.
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I am frequently asked to evaluate the progress of reconstruction so far, and although some areas are predominantly slow-paced such as school reconstruction, the NRA and other related ministries have been working hard to achieve their missions.
Reconstruction takes time since it is a process to strengthen resilience in future disasters. For instance, the reconstruction process is still going on after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami which killed more than 15,000 people.
The responsibility for reconstruction does not rest solely upon the government. Every individual is a part of the process so that tasks are completed on time. Solidarity among the people must be strengthened and social resilience enhanced to expedite reconstruction before the memory of the disaster fades.
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A strong government seems to be emerging in Nepal since last year’s successful elections. As the objective of political stability is somewhat assured, this is a good sign for smoother reconstruction. I believe Nepal will soon overcome the damage of the earthquake, and accelerate its development. In this, the Government of Japan and JICA will continue to support the people and the Government of Nepal.
Jun Sakuma is Chief Representative of JICA Nepal.
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