GYAN P NEUPANE
KATHMANDU, May 4: A recent study conducted by the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has found that around 2,300 households in five of the worst quake-hit districts are in need of relocation to the safer sites.
After analyzing the condition of 613 vulnerable settlements of 17 quake-affected districts, the study concluded that 2,300 households in Gorkha, Sindhupalchowk, Rasuwa, Dhading and Dolakha districts are unsafe for long-term habitation.
“Those households in the quake-hit areas are found to be in danger due to damage caused by landslides. Our geographical study shows that around 2,300 houses should be resettled,” Kamal Ghimire, an officer at the Land Management and Geological Study Section of NRA, told Republica.
The NRA has identified 118 settlements out of 613 quake-affected settlements of 17 districts as vulnerable. Within those settlements, NRA officials informed that they have finalized around 2,300 households which need more attention due to higher risks.
“It means that all the households in the 118 vulnerable settlements do not need to be relocated. Many houses in those areas are still in safe condition or out of danger,” he said.
The NRA had mobilized different teams including at least one geologist, one landslide expert and soil erosion expert in each of the spots to study the vulnerability status of the settlements.
Ghimire said that the households should be shifted to safer sites in the next two years.
Otherwise, they could face further damages in the rainy season, he said.
The study concluded that the government should make adjustment for the relocation for at least two-third of the 2,300 households and the remaining one-third can shift their houses on their own.
“The one-third households, which are also in need of relocation, can manage their re-settlement in safer zones on their own because these families already have properties in some other cities or some have enough money to buy lands,” said Ghimire, who visited several landslide-prone areas of Rasuwa and Dolaka districts during the survey. “The government should help the two-third families to buy land in safer areas.”
According to NRA officials, the NRA has already started the process to relocate the settlements of Laprak and Baguwa villages of Gorkha, Giranchaur of Sindhupalchowk and Shusmawati village of Dolakha so far. The government will develop safer areas with basic infrastructures to shift the communities which are still living under risky conditions.
The team had made the field visits as per the request from the quake victims and the district-based government bodies.
“This is the final data of the households which are in need of proper relocation or rehabilitation in other areas,” he further said. “Now, we there are very few vulnerable places left for the field visit. However, we will mobilize our team if anyone has fear about the vulnerability of their settlements in the future too.”
The NRA earlier this month had approved the guidelines for relocating the quake victims away from places that have been proven to be too risky. Likewise, the NRA has suggested to the government to provide a lump sum of Rs 200,000 per household to buy land in safer places.
First appeared in Republica national daily