Subarna Shrestha has been serving as Mayor of Sankharapur Municipality in Kathmandu for the past one year. For the second issue of the PRAGATI newsletter, Mayor Shrestha spoke to Ishwar Rauniyar, the Communication Officer of PRAGATI Project, about his views on the role of development partners in Nepal after the earthquake.
- How do you see the reconstruction in Shankharapur?
Shankharapur Municipality was one of the most affected areas during 2015 earthquake. Nearly 6000 houses were damaged partially or completely. Numerous culturally and traditionally significant monuments were also damaged. To be honest, reconstruction was not gaining any pace at the beginning; it is slightly gaining the pace but still it is not satisfactory.
- What are the main hurdles and gaps for slow pace of reconstruction?
I find inadequate awareness as a major reason for delay. Those whose houses were completely damaged had a misconception that the government will provide all required support to reconstruct their house. Because of the same they were less motivated to construct their house with their own resource. Neither the local government clarified it nor the affected people realize it earlier. Hence reconstruction was slow. After living in temporary shelters for more than 2 years post earthquake with little support coming from government, they have realized that government has just extended minor support for reconstruction. Ever since number of people reconstructing houses has increased.
- In the post earthquake scenario, many NGOs, INGOs have come to Shankharapur to work. How do you see their engagement?
With financial support from Oxfam, Lumanti Support group for shelter, Homenet, Lutheran World Relief are working in the most affected area. Lumanti has provided technical support to the community facilitating the administrative process and development of house design. This has also helped in increasing motivation of people and pace of reconstruction. Homenet supported in livelihood recovery of the people whose home based enterprise was disrupted by the earthquake by providing those materials and working space to earn their living. WHR also supported single women to recover their livelihood.
Recently PRAGATI project is added to the list which is more focused on urban disaster risk reduction and is carrying activities aligning to need of municipality. I believe, along with recovery and reconstruction from different projects, this project will be helpful to build back better and prepare the community for future disaster.