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1 million people pushed below poverty line by Nepal earthquake: Report

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Powerful earthquake hits Nepal

Kathmandu: A national crisis caused by the April 25 earthquake and its aftermath has pushed an estimated one million people below poverty line, a Nepal government report has revealed.

Presenting the findings of the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) report on Saturday, National Planning Commission Vice-chairman Govinda Raj Pokharel said it was estimated that the poverty-level would go up by more than 2.5-3.5 percent.

As per the Human Development Report (2014), the poverty prevalence in Nepal is 23.8 percent.

The 7.9 magnitude earthquake on April 25 rocked as many as 36 of the 75 Nepali districts and among them 14 are worst hit where 8,800 people were killed, thousands injured and an estimated one million residents displaced.

The devastating quake and aftershocks damaged assets and properties valued at $5.13 billion (Nepalese Rs.513 billion), and the loss in terms of foreign earnings in different sectors is to the tune of $1.88 billion, the report said.

The PDNA states that Nepal needs an estimated $6.66 billion, or nearly one-third of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

The report will be tabled before the donor community at an international conference on June 25 here to collect resources for the rebuilding and reconstruction efforts.

Over the last three decades, Nepal had been registering fast improvement on the Human Development Index.

“The earthquake has affected agriculture, education, water and sanitation, and health, the crucial elements of human development. These people will turn poor because of loss of houses; income-generating opportunities; productive assets such as seeds and livestock; and durable assets such as assorted household items ranging from basic kitchen utensils to jewellery,” the report said.

“This has exposed the pitfall of the poverty reduction drive launched by the government — ‘The high degree of vulnerability’,” says a World Bank report, which was extended to the National Planning Commission to supplement the Post Disaster Needs Assessment.

The districts ravaged by the earthquake are not the poorest in the country.

Around 26.5 per cent of the population residing in quake-affected rural areas are categorised as poor. This figure is equivalent to national poverty rate.

On the other hand, only 9.7 per cent of the population living in quake-affected urban areas live below the poverty line. Nepal’s poverty rate stood at 24.8 per cent in 2013.

It means that around a quarter of the population in that year was living on less than $1.25 a day. But if the international poverty line of $1.25 a day was raised to $2 a day at that time, 57.3 percent of the population would have been categorised as poor.

“What this means is that a large proportion of Nepali households are just a sickness, a bad monsoon or natural disaster away from slipping back into poverty,” says the World Bank report.

Considering this, the earthquake will end up pushing 700,000 to 982,000 people (2.5 to 3.5 per cent of the population) into poverty in 2015-16, the report added.

According to the report, of the people who fall back into poverty, roughly 50 to 70 per cent are likely to hail from rural central hills and mountains where overall vulnerability was very high prior to the earthquake.

“The earthquake is likely to have obliterated all these livelihood channels, particularly for those with limited access to other forms of assets and credit markets,” it says.

Also, the need to rebuild their own houses is likely to keep many away from the labour market, leading to slowdown in non-farm activities. (IANS)

 

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Earthquake Then Volcano, There is No Relief For the Hawaii Residents

Hundreds of people have evacuated from Leilani Estates, a community of about 1,700 people, and Lanipuna Gardens.

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Scientists have been in the field measuring the eruptions 24 hours a day, seven days a week since Kilauea first exploded more than two months ago.
Scientists have been in the field measuring the eruptions 24 hours a day, seven days a week since Kilauea first exploded more than two months ago. Pixabay

A massive quake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale jolted Hawaii residents were evacuating from their homes following a volcanic eruption that has not showed any signs of slowing down, authorities said.

The temblor that struck 16 km southwest of Leilani Estates at 12.32 p.m., on Friday, was one of more than 110 earthquakes that hit the island since the Kilauea volcano, one of the world’s most active, erupted on Wednesday, reports CNN.

US Geological Survey (USGS) seismologist Jana Pursley said there have been 119 earthquakes on the Big Island since Thursday afternoon.

The USGS said Friday’s 6.9 quake was the most powerful on the island since 1975.

About 14,000 customers of Hawaii Electric Light lost power immediately after the earthquake.

About 14,000 customers of Hawaii Electric Light lost power immediately after the earthquake.
Earthquake in Hawaii, IANS

The quake has knocked out power to residents who were already dealing with mandatory evacuation orders, molten rock and high levels of sulphur dioxide in the air.

The situation wasn’t getting any better, Civil Defence Administrator Talmadge Magno told reporters on Friday afternoon.

“Activity continues. It doesn’t look like it is slowing down,” CNN quoted Magno as saying.

He said five volcanic vents have opened and indicated that at least one house and another structure were destroyed by lava.

It is highly unusual to see the vents so far from Kilauea volcano, he said.

Hundreds of people have evacuated from Leilani Estates, a community of about 1,700 people, and Lanipuna Gardens.

Harry Kim, Mayor of Hawaii County, said the government will support residents, including those who want to go back to their homes to pick up some belongings.

“We have to work with them as to how we are going to minimise (the inconveniences) as best as possible,” he said.

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Kim said people who want to check on their homes would be allowed into the neighbourhoods.

Cracks in Kilauea volcano’s rift zone — an area of fissures miles away from the summit — erupted on Thursday and early Friday, spurting lava near the island’s eastern edge.

Video posted on social media showed lava spewing several feet into the air from a new crack in a Leilani Estates street.

Aerial videos showed lava searing a long orange and smoky line through a wooded area.

Hawaii Governor David Ige has activated the National Guard to help with evacuations and security. (IANS)