Nepal struggles to rebuild one month after earthquake

Hundreds of thousands of Nepalis still homeless month after quake killed more than 8,600 people.

Nepal is marking the one-month anniversary of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that killed thousands of people and demolished more than half a million homes, most of them in rural areas cut off from emergency medical care.

The country remains perilously unstable with the risk of landslides from ongoing aftershocks, forcing thousands to leave their homes and camp out in open fields, just weeks before the start of seasonal monsoon rains.

Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from the capital Kathmandu, said evidence of the earthquake was everywhere to be seen.

“Rubble is lying in pockets across Kathmandu, tents have been erected in open spaces, and people are struggling to maintain daily life after being moved out from their homes from the repeated aftershocks,” he said.

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Resham Shrestha, who lost his wife and infant son, told Al Jazeera that people in his village of Sanga Chowk were fearing further earthquakes.

Hundreds of thousands of Nepalis remain homeless one month on

“I would love to get my life back. But the repeated tremors have affected the mental state of everyone in the village. It’s not just me with my loss. It’s difficult to think of a plan to rebuild,” he said.

Nepal’s government estimates reconstruction costs of $7bn, a third of the country’s GDP, but with fears of corruption, it could take years to rebuild the country.

Our correspondent said the international community’s long-standing scepticism about Nepal’s government, concerning poor governance and corruption, could have an impact on foreign aid.

“Just a month before this disaster, the British parliamentary committee that oversees international aid said they should consider cutting aid over concerns of corruption,” he said.

“People are having to rely on themselves and do the best they can.”

Aid organisations are worried about the possible spread of disease and the risk of further displacement in a country ill-equipped to help those most in need.

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There are also concerns that reconstruction could be severely disrupted by the rainy season.

Nepal’s information minister, Minendra Rijal, told Al Jazeera that help was on its way and people across the country would be getting money and temporary shelters in time for the monsoon season.

But Jamie McGoldrick, the UN humanitarian coordinator in the country, warned the window to help victims was closing fast.

“Before it gets worse we have to get enough food supplies and shelter materials in high remote areas and also enough logistics to enable us to deliver [aid] in difficult to reach areas,” he told the AFP news agency.

The quake and its aftermath have left more than 8,600 dead and around half a million homes destroyed [Reuters]
The quake and its aftermath have left more than 8,600 dead and around half a million homes destroyed [Reuters]
Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies