Nearly 3 million people in Nepal still need humanitarian assistance: UN


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Kathmandu: Two months after the first of two devastating earthquakes hit Nepal, some 2.8 million people require continued vital humanitarian assistance, the UN said on Thursday.

The 7.9 magnitude earthquake on April 25 and the ensuing aftershocks that jolted the Himalayan nation, killed 8,832 people and left 22,000 injured. Hundreds of people still remain unaccounted for.

Temporary shelter, food and livelihood support, basic medical care, sanitation and hygiene remain the key needs as survivors now also face the added challenges posed by the ongoing monsoon season.

“Ensuring the survival of hundreds of thousands of people, who lost their homes and livelihoods in the back-to-back disasters, through the monsoon must remain our top collective priority,” said Jamie McGoldrick, humanitarian coordinator in Nepal.

“Timely, principled, and equitable relief and recovery are the key prerequisites for any reconstruction effort to be successful. The humanitarian community will continue to support the government in its effort to address the unmet humanitarian needs.”

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 over 117,000 people who have 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.

So far, a total of 350,000 tarpaulins were distributed in 14-affected districts, but it is estimated that some 43,500 households have not yet received adequate supplies.

Material assistance, including corrugated iron sheets, is still required for 44,000 of the 125,000 families who began rebuilding their homes.

Aid agencies estimate that more than 1 million people continue to require food assistance to meet their daily dietary requirements, while 500,000 people need continued support to protect and restore their livelihoods.

More than 900,000 people depend on sustained provision of water and sanitation, including 2,000 communities relying on water filtration kits provided by humanitarian partners.

Access to safe temporary learning spaces is still required for some 370,000 children.

Provision of relief depends now even more on the logistical support, as the monsoon season has begun.

“Humanitarian needs are still significant and are expected to persist through the end of September,” said McGoldrick.

“Our ability to address these needs depends largely on the funds which will be made available for humanitarian assistance itself, that is financed independently and separately from recovery and development efforts.”

Till date, only $153 million or 36 percent, was received against the $422 million humanitarian appeal.

An additional $200 million in support to post-earthquake relief was provided directly to the Nepal government on a bilateral basis. (IANS)