04/12/2018, 15.04
NEPAL – INDIA
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'Bangalore Cares for Nepal' hands over 60 new homes to earthquake victims

by Nirmala Carvalho

The houses were built with the help of two associations, one based in Italy, the other in Spain. The earthquake of 25 April 2015 destroyed 750,000 homes. So far, only 115,000 have been rebuilt. A number of projects for schools, leprosy patients and other peopled are underway.

Bangalore (AsiaNews) – An Indian Christian association, Bangalore Cares for Nepal, handed over 60 new houses to earthquake victims who have been waiting for a home since 2015 in Tartung, a village located in Dwalaka District, epicentre of the powerful 7.8 earthquake that devastated Nepal three years ago killing almost 9,000 people.

The Indian association is led by Fr George Kannanthanam and was one of the first NGOs to reach Nepal after the quake of 25 April 2015 mobilising support for victims and survivors. Since then, it has set up a network of backers around the world, raising largely private funds.

Within a month of the earthquake, the association was able to provide temporary housing for 450 families. This was followed by shelter for people living with leprosy at the Budaneelakanta colony, on the outskirts of the capital.

In 2017 the NGO built a school for a thousand students in Kavre district (with books, backpacks, uniforms and other school material).

It also got 30 kids from Nepal to enrol in a hotel management programme at Echo College, Bangalore. Many of them graduated and are now working in some of the most prestigious hotels in India, Nepal and other countries, supporting families back home.

Fr Kannanthanam explained that the 60 houses were built at a cost of 300,000 rupees (US$ 4,600) each. Thirty houses were built with the support of Proclade, a Claretian agency based in Spain. The other thirty were supported by AIFO, an Italian agency based in Bangalore.

The houses were built in the remote area at almost 3,000 metres above sea level under the supervision of Caritas Nepal. Getting there is an eight-hour drive from the capital Kathmandu, less than 200 km away.

The houses were built according to the “owner driven method". Each beneficiary was given a grant to build the house on his land and under his responsibility. People in the village worked together on each house. Stones from old houses and wood from the forest were used as construction material.

According to Yuvaraj Bhusal, chief executive officer of the Nepal Reconstruction Authority, out of the 750,000 houses that were destroyed in the earthquake, 115,000 houses have been rebuilt so far thanks to the financial support provided by World Bank and other countries.

About 20,000 houses have been built by NGOs in Nepal, said Fr Kannanthanam. Caritas Nepal is currently building 4,825 houses with the support of Caritas from about 20 countries.

Other Christian agencies are also actively involved in relief and rehabilitation work in Nepal.

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