Nepal continues to struggle to get back on the tracks two months after been hit by the second most devastating earthquake in its history. With massive damage to properties and infrastructure, around 2.8 million people are still in the need of vital humanitarian assistance. While United Nations drew estimates of the requirement of more humanitarian aid, neighbour nation India once again pledged to stand behind Nepal with a promise of more financial aid.
Union External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj made announcement of granting the aid of one billion US Dollars to Nepal. She was speaking at the conference of international donors organised in the capital city Kathmandu.
“Today I convey to you the deep and abiding commitment of the Government and 1.25 billion people of India and the personal commitment of PM Narendra Modi to stand shoulder to shoulder with you as you seek to wipe the tears of every Nepali,” Sushma Swaraj said at the conference.
A devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake had hit Nepal on April 25 killing 8,832 people. The quake and its consequent aftershocks had left more than 22,000 people injured as well, while hundreds still remain unaccounted.
According to the United Nations and its various affiliates, the survivors are still struggling for key requirements like shelters, food and livelihood support, basic medical care, sanitation and hygiene. The weather too keeps on adding to the woes of the victims with more and more challenges posed by damp and cold weather.
“Ensuring the survival of hundreds of thousands of people who lost their homes and livelihoods in the back-to-back disasters in the monsoon must remain our top collective priority,” United Nations Humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick said.
The UN body spokesperson was briefing the press ahead of a meeting of international donors in Kathmandu.
“Timely, principled and equitable relief and recovery are the key prerequisite for any reconstruction effort to be successful,” he said.
With nearly 530,000 houses destroyed and another 278,000 damaged by the quakes, hundreds of thousands of people continue to remain in makeshift shelters, including more than 1, 17,000 people who relocated to open-air sites. Many of the affected families are also still struggling to recover and rebuild their livelihoods, as seeds for planting and livestock were lost in the disasters.
Around 3, 50,000 tarpaulins have been distributed so far in 14 affected districts, but it is estimated that some 43,500 households have still not received adequate supplies or in some cases, have not yet been reached, according to the senior UN official.
Ever since the tragic incident, there has been a generous flow of support for Nepal, with Indian authorities lending special aid and assistance in rescue and rehabilitation.
The Thursday’s conference of international donors was attended by several countries, including China, Britain, Norway, Japan, Sri Lanka, the European Union besides the UN, World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
(With inputs from the PTI)