Nepal raises estimate of earthquake rebuilding cost

AP News
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Posted: May 12, 2016 10:28 AM

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal's earthquake reconstruction agency has increased by more than $1 billion its estimate of the money needed to rebuild nearly 1 million houses damaged by a powerful earthquake last year.

The Reconstruction Authority said in a report Thursday that $7.86 billion will be required, up from the $6.69 billion estimated last year by the government.

The head of the agency, Sushil Gyewali, said the new estimate is the result of a detailed assessment of houses damaged by the magnitude-7.8 earthquake.

"Reconstruction of private homes will be completed in two years, government buildings and schools will be done in three years, and historical monuments will be rebuilt within five years," Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli said.

Nepal has been criticized for the delay in the reconstruction more than a year after the April 2015 earthquake. It took months to form the reconstruction agency and appoint officials while millions of people were left without their homes.

Foreign governments and donor agencies have already pledged $4.1 billion in financial help for reconstruction, out of which the government has managed to sign agreements for only about $2.3 billion.

The earthquake and aftershocks killed nearly 9,000 people and injured more than 22,000.