Lawmakers say relief distribution inadequate

- KAMAL DEV BHATTARAI, Kathmandu

May 18, 2015-

A preliminary assessment by the Special Parliamentary Committee members deployed in the 14 worst-hit districts has shown that implementation of the government’s short-term earthquake relief plan is dismal with many remote villages yet to receive basic supplies.

According to committee members, relief materials have not reached the affected villages in Gorkha, Kavre, Sindhupalchok and Dolakha districts as the road link has been severed. Some food items sent immediately after the April 25 catastrophe have been used up and some remote villages have not even received them at all, lawmakers said.

The Special Committee has directed the teams to provide details of the villages that still lack basic relief such as food and tents. Lawmakers have said that 11 VDCs beyond the Chure hills—the so called Dandapari villages—in southern Kavre have not received sufficient relief packages.

“We will visit the area soon,” said Lawmaker Lokmani Dhakal. Even if aid is flown to the districts, it will have to be carried further by porters for several hours.

Lawmaker Aindera Sundar Nembang, who returned from a tour of Dolakha district, said 18 VDCs are facing problems related to relief supplies.

“Roads have been damaged. Telephone service has been disrupted. Though some helicopters are trying to supply food items, it is not sufficient,” said Nembang. Northern parts of Gorkha, Dhading and Nuwakot districts also face similar situations.

Lawmakers have suggested deploying special teams in the districts to find out the status of relief distribution.

“If we fail to deliver enough food before monsoon, it will be difficult to supply basic needs in the remote areas,” a member of parliament warned. MPs said they could not reach remote areas as they were instructed not to use helicopters to go there.

In a meeting with Special Committee Chairman Subas Nembang on Sunday, Nepal Army said it has dispatched food to all the remote areas. The relief packages provided by the government, organisations and individuals have reached only the areas accessible by road.

The Special Committee also expressed doubts about the implementation of the decision to provide Rs 15,000 for building temporary shelters. The government has said the cash would be disbursed on the basis of identity cards issued by the Village Development Committees but there has been no progress.

“The government has not defined ‘destroyed’ and ‘damaged’ houses, which is the basis for the cash distribution,” Committee Chairman Nembang said.

The committee also directed the government to furnish details of the money provided to the families of those who died in the earthquake, the status of free treatment for the injured people, and the preparations made to control possible disease outbreaks.

Published: 19-05-2015 07:51

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