Nepali officials impressed by NZ earthquake learnings
Nepali officials impressed by New Zealand earthquake learnings
Nepali officials on a study tour of New Zealand, have been impressed by Kiwi authorities and agencies’ response to the earthquakes in Canterbury and Kaikoura and their generosity in sharing their experiences.
A 20-strong delegation from the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), and representatives of the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, as well as the Kathmandu Metropolitan City have been in Wellington this week to meet with officials and scientists who have worked on the Government response to New Zealand’s major natural disasters
Delegation leader Dr Chandra Bahadur Shrestha said that the depth and breadth of knowledge shared by the New Zealand officials will be invaluable as Nepal continues to recover from its own 2015 disaster, when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the Gorkha area.
“We have been overwhelmed by the warmth and generosity of the New Zealand authorities and agencies to take time and share their experiences with us, and we have been impressed with how much New Zealand has achieved to deal with your own earthquakes,” said Dr Shrestha.
During their action-packed first week of the two-week study tour, the delegation this week met with officials at MBIE, MCDEM, EQC, Wellington City Council, scientists at GNS and the Joint Centre of Disaster Research at Massey University, as well as NZ Lifelines.
The visits covered a wide range of topics from engineering challenges, disaster recovery, earthquake insurance, improved science and resilience programmes.
Dr. Shrestha said that Nepal faces very similar challenges as New Zealand, but he said New Zealand was able to respond well because it had effective and well-funded Government structures in place.
“New Zealanders are fortunate to have stronger building regulations and insurance schemes like EQC to get them through a natural disaster, compared to Nepal which relies heavily on overseas support in our recovery,” said Dr Shrestha.
“After meeting with EQC, the delegation is considering how we can replicate this insurance policy of New Zealand.”
The delegation leader explained that nearly 9000 people died and over half a million buildings were destroyed in the 2015 quake and many of the 800,000 displaced people still do not have a roof over their heads, five years later.
“The meetings with our New Zealand counterparts have been invaluable and we hope that we will be able to implement many of things we have learned back home to speed up our recovery and to prepare better for a future natural disaster,” said Dr Shrestha.
The NRA study trip is supported and funded by the European Union through the Nepal EU Acion for Recovery and Reconstruction (NEARR), who provide governance and technical advisory services to develop more capacity within the NRA.
On Sunday, the delegation will travel to Kaikoura and Christchurch to witness first-hand what the earthquake recovery in those areas looks like and speak to the agencies on the ground who have been responsible for the reconstruction of those regions.
Nepal was hit by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on 25 April 2015, in the Gorkha region area with severe aftershocks for many more weeks. The impact on the country was devastating as 8.790 people perished, 22,300 were injured and 800,000 people were displaced.
Over half a million homes were destroyed along with 2600 government buildings and 7000 schools and even more buildings suffered major damage.The total cost of the 2015 earthquake is estimated to be around $NZ11 million.
About the NRA
The National Reconstruction Authority is the legally mandated agency for leading and managing the earthquake recovery and reconstruction in Nepal.
NRA provides strategic guidance to identify and address to the priorities for recovery and reconstruction.
The NRA’s overall goal is to promptly complete the reconstruction works of the structures damaged by the devastating earthquake of 25 April 2015 and subsequent aftershocks, in a sustainable, resilient and planned manner to promote national interest and provide social justice by making resettlement and translocation of the persons and families displaced by the earthquake.
The NRA have been supporting an owner-driven reconstruction of residential homes, in which owners receive a lump sum of support from the Government, around $US3000, but have to raise the rest of the costs themselves. An average cost to construct a house is estimated to be around $US10,000.
Only one per cent of the population had insurance cover before the earthquake of 2015.
The European Union (EU) is supporting the government and people of Nepal with reconstruction and recovery measures after the earthquake in 2015.
This includes a State Building Contract (budget support) of 90 million euros, and the contracting of the German Consulting Group GFA to establish a ‘Reconstruction Facility’ under the ‘Nepal EU Action for Recovery and Reconstruction’ (NEARR).
The Facility provides technical assistance, advisory services and products, and capacity development for the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), responsible for the oversight and coordination of the earthquake recovery and reconstruction process.