The Earthquake and its Aftermath
Nepal suffered a massive loss of lives and property on Saturday 25 April 2015, when the devastating magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck Nepal. Subsequent aftershocks, including one of magnitude 7.3 near the Chinese border on 12 May, produced additional losses of life and property.
The earthquake triggered avalanches on Mount Everest and in the Langtang valley. Villages were flattened and people were made homeless across 31 districts, with 14 districts suffering the highest impact. Infrastructure was damaged throughout the earthquake zone. Historic neighbourhoods and heritage sites were destroyed in the Kathmandu Valley.
As a result of the earthquake, 8,790 people died and more than 22,300 people were injured. Assessments showed that at least 498,852 private houses and 2,656 government buildings were destroyed.
Another 256,697 private houses and 3,622 government buildings were partially damaged. In addition, 19,000 classrooms were destroyed and 11,000 damaged.1 The earthquake affected manufacturing, production and trade in agriculture as well as tourism and other areas of the service sector, thereby weakening the national economy. Economic growth fell in 2015 and has picked up slowly 2016. Once fully underway, reconstruction should contribute to economic growth in the coming years.
According to initial estimates arrived at during the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), NPR 669 billion would be required to reconstruct damaged properties and infrastructure and to support recovery in affected sectors of the economy.
Launching Recovery and Reconstruction
Launching a large-scale recovery programme following a major disaster takes a commitment of financial and human resources and a concerted multi-pronged effort to address short-term requirements, develop a policy and institutional framework, design a financing strategy, and put implementation arrangements in place.
In the past year, the Government of Nepal (GoN), local governments, and Nepali society have successfully launched such a recovery programme, by first, carrying out numerous activities aimed at re-establishing a sense of normalcy in earthquakeaffected areas. Many transportation routes and essential services have been restored, unsafe conditions created by the earthquake have been mitigated, and the basic needs of households have been supported. The financial resources for these urgent interventions have been mobilised by the public and private sectors, both domestically and with the generous support of Nepalese living abroad and key international development partners.
At the same time, a system to coordinate and finance medium- and long-term recovery has been put in place with the establishment of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) and National Reconstruction Fund in late 2015 and with the approval of its governance structure soon after.
Despite several challenges since its inception in December 2015, the NRA has made progress in several fronts, which are elaborated below.
Survey and documentation: By March 27, 2016 the Central Bureau of Statistics completed surveys and documentation of 423,118 households. By mid-April, the NRA was initiating reconstruction grant agreements in 10 districts outside Kathmandu Valley.
NRA facilities, human resources and Sub-Regional Offices: The NRA office has been established at Singha Durbar and by mid-April had been staffed with 80 officials. The NRA will be setting up seven sub-regional offices, of which the first—in Dol-akha—opened in March 2016. NRA offices in Gorkha, Nuwakot, Sindhupalchowk and Kavrepalanchowk districts have also been set up, to guide and oversee reconstruction efforts.
Development of policies and guidelines: The Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Policy 2072 (2016) provides the policy instrument for steering reconstruction and rehabilitation. The organizational structure of the NRA and the implementation modality and approaches have been finalized. These policies and guidelines clarify the roles and responsibilities of different institutions working on reconstruction and rehabilitation.
The Advisory Council, Steering Committee and the Executive Committee of the NRA are now in place. The Council of Ministers has approved guidelines for the following interventions:
- Housing grant distribution
- Environmental impact assessment
- Land acquisition and land registration
- Public procurement
- Reconstruction regulation
- Land registration
- Working with non-governmental organizations
Reaching this point before the first anniversary of the earthquake is a significant accomplishment, particularly when measured against other large-scale recovery programmes around the world.
Preparation of the Post-Disaster Recovery Framework
The Post-Disaster Recovery Framework (PDRF) was prepared under the leadership of the NRA, in consultation with key stakeholders, to provide a systematic, structured and prioritized framework for implementing recovery and reconstruction.
It is a common framework meant to serve all of government, as well as national and international partners and other recovery stakeholders, including the affected population.
The PDRF lays out strategic recovery objectives and summarises in an integrated manner the policy decisions, institutional arrangements, financing and financial management strategies, as well as implementation and monitoring systems that are being put in place to plan and manage recovery and reconstruction. It also sets out sector priorities that will contribute to the achievement of the strategic recovery objectives.
The PDNA prepared in 2015, led by the National Planning Commission (NPC), forms the basis for the PDRF, with strategies, priorities and financial requirements updated as required.
Sector plans have been prepared by sector teams led by the respective line ministries and with the support of relevant development partners and coordination by the NRA. Sector plans will be used to guide, plan and estimate resource requirements for recovery and reconstruction activities at the sector level. Sector plans will also be developed into tools to monitor progress against targets on an ongoing basis.
Validation workshops for the PDRF were organised with government ministries and agencies, development partners, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs). District level PDRF consultations were undertaken in the most affected districts to clarify district level recovery and reconstruction priorities, and to identify implementation challenges and ongoing local recovery and reconstruction efforts.
In addition, a separate set of Sector Plans outlines recovery and reconstruction priorities, together with estimated financial requirements per sector.
These plans are living documents, to be updated periodically. Monitoring frameworks and indicators will be incorporated into them, against which results can be measured in an ongoing basis.
The PDRF will help ensure that recovery is resilient and supports the development agenda of the country. The involvement of development partners and stakeholders has created opportunities to highlight key challenges and constraints and to emphasise the need to align the priorities and programmes of key stakeholders. The result of the PDRF process—carried out to date and continued over time—should be a more effective and efficient recovery effort.