Nepalese celebrate 9 different new years because they have dozens of ethnic groups with their own unique calendars. While Nepal uses a solar calendar with fixed dates for most purposes, it reserves the traditional lunar calendar for religious festivals, birthdays, and “death anniversaries”. The Nepali New Year generally occurs between April 11th and 15th on the Gregorian Calendar and this year it falls on April 13. It is an official public holiday which marks the country’s 1st day of the year 2074.
Yarmasing villagers have continued to live in the temporary camp shelters in Kathmandu, waiting for the second geologist evaluation which needed to be done after the 2016 monsoon. Earlier this month, this new evaluation was completed and the section of land deemed safe for reconstruction was marked.
The land in the upper slopes, where villagers had their houses prior to the earthquake, has been determined not to be safe to rebuild. The families whose houses were in the upper slopes have had to negotiate the purchase of new plots from the owners who have extra land in the lower part of the village, which the geologists have marked as safe for reconstruction. This has been quite a difficult process but the final list specifying the exact location where each villager plans to rebuild their home has now been completed.
We are currently working on surveying and issuing the transfer of land ownership titles to the families who have to build in the new plots. The next step will be the registration of the land titles with the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), the Nepali Government agency which was created after the earthquake to assess and regulate all aspects of reconstruction. The official final geologist report has already been filed with the NRA and as soon as the land ownership titles are registered, we expect the NRA to issue the building permits.
In the meantime, in anticipation of getting the green light from the NRA, we have already completed the necessary road work to open access from the main road to the village to enable vehicles to reach Yarmasing and deliver construction materials.
Most of the villagers have already moved to temporary shelters in Yarmasing to start preparing for reconstruction. A few adult family members are staying in Kathmandu to take care of all the community children who need to stay in town in order to finish the school year at Samata school, where they were enrolled after the earthquake.