Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Relief aid flowing into Nepal, rebuilding could exceed Rs 1 trillion

The country needs around Rs 1 trillion to reconstruct the damaged infrastructure in the Saturday's devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake.
The cost to rebuild Nepal after its most devastating earthquake, in eight decades, would exceed Rs 1 trillion ($10 billion) and take years, according to the finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat. The reconstruction estimate is equivalent to around half of Nepal's GDP that stands at Rs 2 trillion ($20 billion).
According to the US Geology survey, the earthquake has damaged around Rs 1 trillion worth infrastructure including world heritage sites and historic monuments, roads, and buildings. "Due to the mountainous geography, infrastructure damage, collapsed bridges and damaged roads, access to many of the affected areas is reported to be extremely limited," according to the UN.
Scared to sleep inside due to fear that cracked buildings might crumble in another aftershock, Kathmanduites have been living as refugee out in the open. Kathmandu valley has turned into a refugee camp, and they it is in dire need of tents, water supply and medicines, before it is too late to control outbreak of cholera. The situation is not different outside the valley too.
Likewise, the mountainenous region is out of reach also due to geographical difficulty. The UN has also estimated that about one third of the country's population of 28 million have been affected due to the quake with about 1.4 million in need of food assistance.
The government with its limited resources is doing its best to provide relief, Mahat said thanking the development partners for their immediate relief response.
The friendly nations and development partners have committed around Rs 8 billion grant as an immediate relief package, apart from medicines, tents, water, food stuff and relief staff. However, the government that is struggling hard to rescue people trapped more than 72 hours after the earthquake, is waiting for the cash to fund the rescue work.
The International aid organisations and foreign governments are scrambling to get much-needed relief to Nepal.
The United States, India, Israel, Pakistan and other governments have sent emergency supplies and personnel such as doctors to Nepal. The Red Cross has 1,500 volunteers and 300 staff on the ground providing basic first-aid and other support.
On Monday, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) issued an appeal to raise 33.5 million Swiss francs ($35.2 million) to provide emergency assistance. "We call on all partners and donors to urgently and generously support our action," said IFRC secretary general Elhadj As Sy.
The country needs some $13 billion to $18 billion investment to fill the infrastructure gap and also to help country graduate from the current Least Development Country (LDC) status to development country status by 2022. With the current damage of estimated $10 billion, the country now needs to invest around $28 billion in infrastructure that could propel sustainable economic growth.
Though the country has witnessed a political stability, the economy has been slowing recently. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank (WB) have recently estimated the economy to grow at 4.6 per cent – down from 5.2 per cent a year before – and down from the government's target of six per cent, due to mainly poor monsoon. But the damage of the Saturday's devastating earthquake will pull the economic growth further down.
Though for the time being many charities, government agencies and nonprofits are sending essential aid and medical assistance for the rescue and recovery efforts.

Here are some of the countries and organisations that have announced cash contribution:
United Nations: The office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs is releasing $15 million from the U.N.'s emergency relief fund. It expects to issue an appeal for donations from member states later this week.
United States: Washington has committed a total of $10 million for response and recovery efforts, according to US secretary of State John Kerry.
Japan: Announced a 1 billion yen ($8.4 million) grant and sent rescue personnel.
United Kingdom: Department for International Development (DfID) announced a £5 million ($7.6 million) aid package on Sunday; £3 million will be used immediately; £2 million will be given to the British Red Cross.
Canada: Donating 5 million Canadian dollars ($4.1 million) to aid organisations to help with life-saving efforts.
Norway: Donated 30 million Norwegian kroner ($3.9 million) for relief efforts.
Australia: Donated 5 million Australian dollars ($3.9 million) and sent experts.
European Commission: Announced €3 million ($3.3 million) in immediate aid money for Nepal on Sunday.
China: Ministry of Commerce has reportedly given 20 million yuan ($3.2 million) in humanitarian aid, according to the Chinese newspaper, China Daily.
Germany: Berlin has pledged €2.5 million ($2.7 million) and is sending supplies.
Singapore: Donated 100,000 Singapore dollars ($75,000) to the Singapore Red Cross for aid. Singapore Red Cross agency is appealing for more donations. Has already begun disbursing 50,000 Singapore dollars worth of emergency supplies.
Asian Development Bank: The group of 48 countries in Asia and the Pacific are providing a $3 million grant.
USAID: $1 million in emergency financial support.
AmeriCares: The group has raised $750,000 to support relief efforts in Nepal.
American Red Cross: $300,000 initial contribution.
Save the Children: £300,000 ($454,000) in emergency aid. Expects to eventually send millions.
Christian Aid: Immediately sent £50,000 ($76,000) in aid on Saturday. Has raised £124,000 ($188,000) from donations. Expects to raise over £1 million for this urgent appeal.
Oxfam: The British aid agency said online donations totaled £500,000 in Great Britain and $1 million in the United States.
Coca-Cola: The beverage giant said it is working to provide bottled water to survivors as soon as possible.
Pepsi: Is also donating bottled water and food.
Kellogg: The food company said it donated $200,000 to the World Food Programme (WFP) that is earmarked for Nepal.
Toyota: Making a combined donation of 10 million yen, or about $84,000.
Facebook: The social network has developed a new tool called Safety Check. The simple tool sends messages to people who are in Nepal, urging them to click a button to let their Facebook friends know they're okay.
Google: The search engine has revived its "Person Finder" tool this weekend. The tool helps people search for and post information about missing friends and family in the disaster zone. As of Monday morning, the site hosted 5,600 entries.
Microsoft: Has pledged $1 million in cash and in-kind donations. It is also offering free Skype calls to and from Nepal.
UPS: Pledged $200,000 to various charities working in Nepal.
Communications companies: T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, Vodafone Time Warner Cable and others have waived fees for calls in Nepal.
Payment providers: Apple, PayPal, Square Cash are waiving fees and taking other steps to facilitate donations.

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