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Says NRA chief, Sushil Gyawali, as he recapitulates the reasons why his newly formed reconstruction authority is making such slow progress in rebuilding houses and local infrastructure: “The biggest challenge is to mobilise people. The lack of elected representatives has made it more difficult for us to work at the grassroot level.” Without strong local leadership, it is more difficult to do planned work such as counting and registering the earthquake victims, issuing victim IDs, distributing grant money, and simply getting reconstruction off it’s so far heavy feet. Elected local leaders who typically command greater respect than outside officials do would make a huge difference to reconstruction, Gyawali explains. He adds:
Ramechap district is freezing and locals are struggling to keep warm as temperatures are dropping below zero. Pisang Lama, 31, is just one of thousands living in temporary shelters completely unfit for winter. Like in most of the earthquake affected districts, also in this area south-east of Kathmandu the ruins of the old mud and stone houses have been replaced with tin shelters. There’s no insulation and no real protection from the elements. Lama explains:
Villagers in Palanchok, Kavre, were hoping for the best. A Japanese-funded NGO pledging in May to rebuild 60 to 65 houses, however, did not return. It did clear some rubble with a dozer, following the villagers’ hard work of manually demolishing their house ruins. But after that no NGO showed up. By September, everybody was busy setting up temporary tin shelters instead. Watch how a family is getting back into some type of everyday rythm in the video opposite – it’s life under a tin roof, so common in thousands of villages at this time.
Watch the same family working hard and full of hope here, in May when the NGO had arrived.