By Manas Dwivedi
It has been nearly four months since Nepal was hit with a series of high scale earthquakes. The devastating calamity killed around 9,000 people and made lakhs of residents homeless. While the natives of the Himalayan country are fighting hard to get their lives back to normal, the authority in Nepal seems to be rather nonchalant about the agony faced by the people.
It is really tough when a country is badly thrashed by nature’s call, and it becomes even more painful when the government doesn’t seem to understand the need of the hour. After the massive round of earthquakes rocked Nepal, the whole world extended its support to the nation to fight and overcome the disaster. But unfortunately, major benefits are yet to reach the victims and aid the public.
Many foreign countries and agencies including the World Bank extended financial help to Nepal. Around $4.1 billion was announced; but so far, the government has been unable to make any arrangement to receive the amount and neither has it invested any money in reconstruction.
The recently drafted National Reconstruction Authority states that the government wanted to start the rebuilding in early October, but the delay in approval of plans has further extended the work. Chief executive officer of the authority, Govind Raj Pokharel also accepts that their response has been slow.
According to Pokharel, the major reason behind not spending any money on rebuilding and distribution could be the government’s unpopular attempt to pass a contentious constitution. He said, “The new political system will divide the country into new regions. It caused deadly clashes and hauled the development tasks.” He further added, “We would have liked it if the government had concentrated on reconstruction first rather than anything else.”
Victims too stated their miseries with a heavy heart. Maili Pariyar, a local crafter exclaimed, “We have lost everything. We are desperate! For how long will we wait for help?” Pariyar explained of having received only tent material and food from relief camps. She said the government has not provided anything yet.
Nepal is receiving strong criticism around the globe for their phlegmatic style of response. The country was already under-prepared to face the earthquakes and later, it is showing lapses in relief aid as well.
A recent United Nation’s report reveals that nearly 3 million survivors are still in need of urgent help. Many have lost their homes, and a number of institutions –mainly buildings, offices and monuments– are badly destroyed. Another government-led assessment shows that around a million people in the worst affected district may go down to the international poverty line of US$1.25 in coming times.
The post-quake devastation has a left number of children facing different health hazards. More than 10,000 kids are severely malnourished, among which, over 900 are acutely affected. Hundred of kids in the country have lost their parents, whereas schools and classrooms are still under debris.
Another high-risk factor for Nepali’s is the threat of flood and landslide due to the intense monsoon season. Access to these areas is increasingly becoming difficult. Although the humanitarian situation around the area has improved, education, health and sanitation condition will still take long to improve.
While millions of people are begging to get adequate food, water and shelter, the government is still making plans for reconstructing the nation. The next major challenge for the government would be to safeguard refugees from biting winters. They must ensure adequate measures for those living in tents.