Key heritage sites in and around Kathmandu that were damaged one year ago by a devastating earthquake are finally set to be reconstructed, Nepal’s prime minister has said.

Khadga Prasad Oli made the announcement as he offered prayers at the 17th century Anantapur temple, which was damaged in the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on April 25, 2015, along with more than 600 other historic structures.

More than half a million homes were also destroyed, but hardly any have been rebuilt.

Nepal has been criticised for delays in reconstruction — largely due to bureaucratic bungling — of its historic structures and residents’ homes despite foreign donors pledging $4.1bn (€3.6bn) towards that end.

Aid groups have demanded that authorities speed up the process and change some of the laws that have become obstacles.

Mr Oli said work would begin on rebuilding the temple and three other heritage sites in Kathmandu, including the old palaces and temples at Durbar Square and key sites in nearby cities Patan and Bhaktapur.

Anantapur is one of the small Buddhist temples, stupas and monasteries surrounding the fifth-century hilltop shrine of Swayambhunath that lies in ruins. It is listed among the Unesco heritage sites.

The prime minister said the work would progress swiftly, adding it was a huge task that would require time.

He said the construction of private houses has also been initiated in 10 districts.

According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, an estimated 4m people are living in sub-standard temporary shelters in conditions that pose a threat to health and wellbeing.

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