Kathmandu, March 8 (IANS) India, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) on Thursday signed a joint agreement to expedite the post-earthquake reconstruction process in Nepal including rebuilding of 50,000 houses.
Under the agreement, India will provide a $16.2 million grant to the two UN agencies to support safer reconstruction of damaged houses in Gorkha and Nuwakot districts — worst hit in the April 2015 earthquake that claimed at least 9,000 lives.
After the quake and a subsequent International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction held on June 25, 2015, India had announced a new economic package of $1 billion to help support the Himalayan nation in its reconstruction efforts.
Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri said: “The partnership agreement with UNDP and UNOPS will enhance the availability of technical knowhow and expertise to house owners in Gorkha and Nuwakot districts to reconstruct their homes with earthquake-resilient features.”
“With the generous assistance of the government of India and in close partnership with the government of Nepal, we will all be working together to support those families in greatest need, safely rebuild their homes and their lives. This is critical to sustainable development and we are proud to be part of this effort,” said Sanjay Mathur, Regional Director, UNOPS Asia.
Renaud Meyer, Country Director, UNDP Nepal, said: We look forward to making this partnership a success to ensure that the poor, vulnerable and marginalised households who need our support the most are able to reconstruct resilient houses speedily while leaving no one behind.”
In the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake, India provided $250 million and a $750 million Line of Credit for post-quake reconstruction.
The grant assistance from India will allow UNDP and UNOPS to provide socio-technical facilitation to help quake-affected families rebuild their houses. While UNDP will provide this facilitation to 26,912 houses in Gorkha, UNOPS will cover 23,088 houses in Nuwakot. The three-year project will help house-owners ensure that their new structures comply with government norms and are earthquake-resilient.
The reconstruction of quake-affected areas underway since 2015 shows that a significant number of households, who are entitled to receive the housing grant, require hands-on socio-technical assistance to build safer and code-compliant structures, according to an official statement.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, UN Resident Coordinator Valerie Julliand thanked the people and the government of India for extending the support and entrusting the UN system with delivering the services.
“We have learned from experiences around the world that disasters like this tend to disproportionally affect socially and economically vulnerable people. These projects will address the special needs of those populations and make them more resilient to disasters in the future,” she added.