Nepal to begin much-delayed earthquake reconstruction
A man clears debris to rebuild a damaged lodge after the earthquake earlier this year in Solukhumbu district, also known as the Everest region - REUTERS

KATHMANDU, Nepal: An official says Nepal this month will begin much-delayed reconstruction of about 1 million homes and buildings damaged by last year’s earthquake and will also begin to collect the billions of dollars pledged by foreign donors.

Sushil Gyewali, who was recently appointed to head the National Reconstruction Authority, said Saturday that reconstruction work will formally begin on Jan. 16.

Officials will send 1,500 engineers to villages in all of the 40 affected districts to take detailed damage surveys.

Nepal has been criticized for delaying reconstruction work because of disagreement among political parties, the new constitution and ethnic protests while people are still living in tents in cold mountain villages.

Nearly 9,000 people were killed in the April 25 earthquake and aftershocks. Nearly a million houses and buildings were damaged.

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