World Europe 25 Apr 2016 Nepal earthquake: Wh ...

Nepal earthquake: Why thousands of women are being deprived of funds

REUTERS
Published Apr 25, 2016, 11:07 am IST
Updated Apr 25, 2016, 11:16 am IST
In April, the Nepalese government began distributing grants of $1,900 only to families that can prove they owned land before the earthquake.
Bodies were strewn among the rubble of Bhaktapur, near Katmandu, on Sunday, as rescue workers searched for survivors. More than 3,200 people were killed across Nepal. (Photo: AP)
 Bodies were strewn among the rubble of Bhaktapur, near Katmandu, on Sunday, as rescue workers searched for survivors. More than 3,200 people were killed across Nepal. (Photo: AP)

London: A year after the deadly earthquake in Nepal, thousands of people, especially women, are being deprived of funds to rebuild because they do not own land or cannot prove they owned the land where they lived, Oxfam said on Friday.

Nepal's government requires proof of ownership, but many victims have lost documents and others did not formally own the land where they lived, said a report by the international anti-poverty organisation. The government in April began distributing grants of 200,000 Nepali rupees ($1,900) to families that can prove they owned land before the earthquake, which struck on April 25, 2015.

 

The quake killed some 9,000 people, injured more than 22,000 others and damaged or destroyed more than 900,000 houses. "Families who are landless and who were living on unregistered land are very much uncertain about the future and support that the government had promised," said Prabin Man Singh, research and policy coordinator for Oxfam, who co-authored the report. "Those families are the poorest and the most vulnerable among the victims."

Some 3 million people are living in temporary shelters with tarpaulin roofs ahead of Nepal's monsoon season, according to Save the Children, CARE International and other agencies. Land tenure is largely undocumented in Nepal, and data is limited and contradictory, the Oxfam report said.

 

It cited one pre-quake government report that said as many as 480,000 families, or 9% of the population, did not have access to land, and another report that said a third of Nepal's farmers did not own the land they cultivated. The United Nations (UN) has said a quarter of Nepalese households - about 1.3 million - did not have any land or enough land to support families.

But Oxfam said that in post-earthquake surveys, more than 90% of people claimed to own their own land before the disaster. As reconstruction plans are instituted, Oxfam said women are often excluded because they "are less likely to inherit land, have land registered in their name or obtain documentation to prove their entitlement."

 

Under Nepal's constitution adopted in September 2015, women have equal rights to own land. But inheritance laws have kept the ownership numbers low. Donors pledged $4.1 billion for reconstruction after the earthquake, but aid groups have criticised the slow pace of government reconstruction efforts.

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