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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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Chile Survives Through Major Quake With Little Damage

Chile is located along the so-called Ring of Fire, which makes it one of the most seismic countries in the world.

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Chile
Boats lifted by an earthquake-triggered tsunami sit on a dock, in Coquimbo, Chile, Sept. 18, 2015. A magnitude 6.7 quake struck the city Jan. 19, 2018, but no tsunami was generated. VOA

A 6.7-magnitude earthquake has shaken cities on Chile’s northern coast. No damages have been reported so far, but Chile’s National Emergency Office ordered a preventative evacuation of a stretch of coast near the city of Coquimbo.

Chilean authorities said the quake didn’t have the characteristics that would generate a tsunami. The U.S. Tsunami Warning System also ruled out a tsunami.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of the magnitude-6.7 quake was 15.6 kilometers (9.7 miles) south-southwest of Coquimbo, and had a depth of 53 kilometers. It struck at 7:32 p.m. local time.

Chile
Earthquake epicenter

A witness told Reuters there was minor damage to older buildings and power outages in the nearby coastal city of La Serena, a popular beach town about 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of Santiago.

“It felt very strong … the tourists were very nervous, but nothing serious happened,” Camila Castillo, a receptionist at a hotel in La Serena, told Reuters.

Chilean miner Antofagasta Plc said operations were normal at its Los Pelambres copper mine following the nearby earthquake.

Also Read: Amazon.com In Talks With Chile To Create A Ground For Developing Artificial Intelligence

Chile is located along the so-called Ring of Fire, which makes it one of the most seismic countries in the world.Chile is located along the so-called Ring of Fire, which makes it one of the most seismic countries in the world. An 8.8-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami in 2010 killed 525 people. (VOA)