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June 2015 Cover Story

Published on: 2015-06-23 00:00:00     1044 times read    0  Comments
 
Fourteen of the country’s 75 districts were hit hardest by the quake. Districts like Dolakha have been completely devastated. However, even districts where the physical damage is quite low, such as Rupandehi, are facing the economic fallout. 
 
Nothing Remains, Have to Start From Scratch 
The April 25 and May 12 devastating earthquakes and aftershocks destroyed much of Dolakha, leaving its infrastructure in ruins. More than 200 people were killed.
 
Almost the entire district has been flattened with cracks and fissures opening up in the ground posing high risk of landslides. Only seven or eight government and private buildings in the district headquarter Charikot have been left unaffected by the quake. 
 
According to the Chief District Officer and coordinator of the District Disaster Relief Committee, Prem Lal Lamichhane, 99 percent of the 53, 000 houses in the district have been completely damaged with the remaining unsafe to live in. He said that reconstruction must begin from scratch.  
 
 
The earthquake has destroyed property worth Rs 70 million belonging to hotel owners according to estimates. Many religious and cultural sites like Bhimeshwor Temple, Tripura Sundari have been damaged. Similarly, the quake destroyed various stupas and churches.  
 
Other figures are as startling. Rs 22.7 million in losses due to loss of livestock. 351 schools out of 363 completely destroyed. 25 health and sub health posts totally destroyed and 19 health institutes partially damaged. 
 
The Upper Tamakoshi hydropower project, one of the country’s projects of national pride, currently under construction, has also been damaged as has the 25 MW Khanikhola Hydropower Project-1. 
 
 
Lumbini Safe, Yet No Tourists 
According to district officials, Rupandehi has suffered no noticeable damage from the Aprl 25 earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks. No casualties have been reported. A few private houses, schools and government offices have developed small cracks, said Toyanath Rayamajhi, Chief District Officer (CDO) of Rupandehi.
 
According to the District Education Office, 50 community schools have been damaged by the earthquake. The District Development Committee is collecting data on the number of damaged buildings.
 
Similarly, almost all industries are safe. But they are facing problems like lack of raw material and manpower and are on the verge of closing. Industries which used to run by importing raw material from Kathmandu and China are now closed. Factories are also facing a labour shortage with workers from the hills returning to rebuild their homes and those from India going back home due to psychological fear. 
 
No physical structure, including the world heritage site located at Lumbini has been affected by the earthquake. But, according to the Lumbini Development Trust, the number of domestic and foreign tourists visiting the site has decreased due to the earthquake. Tourism entrepreneurs are worried as groups are canceling their bookings rapidly. 
 
In the light of the quake more than Rs 10 million has been raised as cash relief by various local organizations, according to CDO Rayamajhi.
 
Quake Causes Rs 190 million Damage in Mid-West
The April 25 earthquake has damaged private homes, educational institutions, government buildings, temples and buildings of other organizations in the Mid-Western Development Region. The total damage has been estimated at Rs 190 million. Two persons died and 41 were injured in the quake.
 
According to government officials, the number of physical structures damaged by the quake and the aftershocks is 7,286 which includes 6,840 private homes, 287 schools, 76 government offices, 51 police stations, 10 temples and 21 other buildings. Districts like Pyuthan, Rukum, Rolpa, Salyan and Surkhet have suffered comparatively more damage.
 
The damage in Surkhet, Dailekh, Banke, Bardiya, Salyan, Rolpa, Puythan, Rukum, Jumla, Kalikot and Dolpa has been estimated at Rs 10.5 million, 3.3 million, 6 million, 4.3 million, 30 million, 10.5 million, 50.5 million, 20.5 million, 5 million, 1.8 million, and 6 million respectively. The damage details from four districts – Jajarkot, Dang, Mugu and Humla are yet to come, according to government officials.    
 
The quake has partially damaged the buildings of Salt Trading Corporation Limited, Agricultural Inputs Corporation, Aviation Fuel Depot, Nepal Oil Corporations depots, gas refilling industries and warehouse of Nepal Food Corporation. Similarly, roads, bridges, irrigation projects, electricity transmission lines etc too have been partially damaged in the region, according to the Regional Administration Office.
 
Far-west Escapes Unscathed
The Far-Western Development Region, in general, escaped unscratched from the massive earthquake and its aftershocks. While only a few school buildings which were too old developed minor cracks, no damage has been reported to industries, banks and financial institutions, private homes, tourist spots, temples and cultural and historical sites in the region. However, the number of tourists – both domestic and international – visiting the region has come down drastically. 
 

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