Victims still spend nights out in open

Kathmandu May 10,

Two weeks since the devastating earthquake, the victims are yet to get relief materials from the government and most of them are taking shelter under the open sky.

Except for a few households, who are well connected with the political class, victims of Banskharka in Sindhupalchok are not getting any relief materials, local resident Nabin Lama told the Post over the phone.

Except for a few households in Wards No 2 and 3, hundreds of victims in the VDCs are awaiting relief including tent and food.

“All the 737 houses here have been destroyed but no aid or representative from the government have arrived here,” said Lama. “We are relying on support from the local monasteries.”

The government is still struggling to arrange for tents as demanded by the quake victims. The Home Ministry, responsible for relief distribution, has delegated the job of managing tents to the Urban Development Ministry.

“We have done our best to arrange for food items and other essentials but the demand for tent is so high that we are still unable to manage them. We have asked the Urban Ministry to cope with the problem,” said Home Ministry spokesman Laxmi Prasad Dhakal.

So far, 309,000 tents have been distributed to the families rendered homeless. The local authorities have demanded 600,000 tents.

A total of 288,798 houses have been destroyed in the quake-hit districts. Among the districts victims from Sindhupalchok, Dolakha, Gorkha, Rasuwa, Dhading, Nuwakot and Bhaktapur suffer the most in the lack of shelters.

The government had hoped the tent shortage would be resolved with support from neighbouring countries. The government has also been purchasing tents from neighbouring countries.

“Local suppliers recently brought in 102,500 tents from Chennai, India, and we will purchase them. Suppliers have been directed to import more that 100,000 tents from India,” said Urban Ministry spokesman Padma Kumar Mainali.

Mainali said they are still trying to purchase 200,000 units from China. “If China provides tents in grant, it’s fine. Otherwise, we will buy them,” he said.

Ministry officials said the problem will be resolved after the second lot of procurement arrives. But they have no idea when the consignment will be delivered.

Missions urged to route foreign aid via PM Fund

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has instructed its three dozen embassies, permanent missions, offices of the consulate general and consulates to route all foreign aid and assistance received from INGOs, NGOs, Nepali diasporas, individuals and other organisations through the Prime Minister Disaster Relief Fund.

In a circular issued last week, the ministry asked all Nepali diplomatic missions to channel funds through their local bank accounts to the PM Relief Fund.

The government has been urging donor and international communities and other generous individuals, institutions and organisations to deposit the money to the Relief Fund for humanitarian assistance to earthquake victims. As of Saturday, 39 foreign nationals and institutions have chipped in 5,796 dollars online.

Media reports say billions of rupees has been collected in several countries by individuals and organisations in the name of quake victims and survivors, said a senior Foreign Ministry official. The money collected in the Relief Fund is being used in rescue, treatment, relief, rehabilitation of victims and restoration of physical infrastructure damaged by the jolt. Almost all of the Rs720 million collected so far has been released for relief effort, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

“We should know who is collecting money and who they are handing it to,” said the official.

Ministry spokesperson Tara Pokharel said the circular urges the missions to deposit all aid and monetary assistance to the PM Relief Fund and seek details if any INGO wants to channel contributions through a stakeholder in Nepal. sorce-ekantipur

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