Caption image above: A mason works on a home in Gatlang village. Source: Irin News
For this last post of the season, as we gear up to go on break, I wanted to share this article on the reconstruction efforts in Nepal.
The article takes a look at the state of reconstruction three years after the earthquake. Trying to speed up reconstruction, the government gave out basic subsidies of $3000 and imposed a strict deadline on families. The subsidies are contingent on quick turnarounds, in many ways encouraging “modern” building techniques using concrete – which can lead to a faster yet more expensive construction – over traditional local materials (earth and stone) that the communities know, are used to working with and are less expensive.
“[…] Some are building tiny, uninhabited homes they can’t afford to finish[…]”.
The lack of resources and skills, and expensive construction methods, the physical product is only one part of the equation and there are many other tangible as well as qualitative aspects that need to be taken into account. Capacity building, micro-finance options to allow more accessible loans and options to families, tenure aspects, employment opportunities, access to services and infrastructure are only a few of the other dynamics that need to be taken into account and strategically woven into the equation. Housing is a process not a product…. and rebuilding takes time.