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2 years later: Thousands of Nepal earthquake victims remain homeless, vulnerable to flooding

Two years following a catastrophic earthquake, Nepal is still cleaning up from the disaster that killed thousands of people and destroyed cities.

The response to rebuild has reportedly been slow. As the Nepali Times reports, both the Nepalese government and non-government organizations have struggled to get promised funds to rural towns across Nepal.

Nepal earthquake from 4.25.17

A Nepalese woman walks in a quake victims' shelter after it was torn down by Nepalese police in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Authorities tore down hundreds of makeshift huts in Nepal's capital on Tuesday, using bulldozers to level the largest temporary camp housing people who were made homeless when a devastating earthquake rocked the country two years ago. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)


The 7.8-magnitude earthquake violently shook Nepal on April 25, 2015, leaving nearly 9,000 people dead and thousands more injured. It sent buildings crumbling, leaving countless families homeless.

The earthquake's epicenter was at Gorkha, not far from Nepal's capital of Kathmandu. More than 1,000 people died in the city. The area hit worst was the district of Sindhupalchok, where 2,000 people lost their lives.

Mount Everest felt the rumble of the earthquakes as well as avalanches, which buried and swept away anything in their path.

Nepal suffered from 120 aftershocks following the original earthquake, the worst reaching a magnitude of 7.3.

Nepal earthquale two years later 4.25.17

Police remove temporary houses in a quake victims' shelter in downtown Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Police tore down hundreds of temporary homes in the Nepalese capital where people who lost their homes in the 2015 earthquake have been living for two years. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)


The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) is meant to facilitate the relief effort and get the donated money to those in need. Over $4 billion was pledged to help rebuild from dozens of groups and countries abroad, but little of the money has been used to put the country back together.

“There is a general perception that we have billions of dollars in our account and we haven’t spent it because of our inefficiency,” Govind Raj Pokharel, CEO of the NRA, told the Nepali Times. “The reality is that we face a huge funding crisis, and much of the reconstruction grant is not being spent through our channel at all.”

The NRA estimated that Nepal needs $9 billion to rebuild, more than double the promised $4 billion. So far, much of that money hasn't even been given to the Nepalese government or is reportedly promised to specific projects that serve the donors' interests.

Nepal earthquake anniversary 4.25.17

In this April 24, 2017, photo, a Nepalese woman collects bricks from a destroyed house in Bhaktapur, Nepal. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)


For the projects that are moving forward, progress is slow as funds are used to pay bureaucrats for approval and oversight.

Meanwhile, many of Nepal's residents remain homeless and without shelter from flooding rain that can strike this time of year. According to Reuters, Nepali officials bulldozed a Kathmandu relief camp, which was home to nearly 2,000 earthquake victims, in March of 2017 in order to encourage people to rebuild and return home to their villages.

Widespread spring flooding can occur in Nepal when tropical moisture is pulled northward from cyclones that form in the northern Bay of Bengal, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Adam Douty.

Homeless earthquake victims could also be left vulnerable in the coming months as the more localized threat of thunderstorms arrives during monsoon season.

Localized flash flood events can arise during any thunderstorms that sneak north during monsoon season, Douty said. However, the core of monsoon moisture is typically directed across India.

While monsoon season typically retreats by early October, autumn can once again yield more widespread flooding in Nepal if any tropical threats loom in the northern Bay of Bengal.