Districts told to prepare exit strategy

  • Views: Too much aid makes people dependant; many areas need continued support
- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu

May 22, 2015-

The Ministry of Home Affairs has asked authorities in 35 quake-hit districts, including 14 most-affected ones, to prepare an exit policy for relief distribution.

A meeting of the Central Natural Disaster Committee led by Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam instructed the district administration offices to prepare the policy stating that the government cannot provide food and other logistics for an indefinite period.

Leaders involved in relief distribution, however, said a cut-off is fine but the government must ensure that the people badly affected by the earthquakes are not left in miserable conditions until they can survive on their own. They said that the state and other stakeholders must categorise people who have received enough relief and those who have not in order to provide emergency humanitarian support.

Rameshwor Dangal, chief of the Natural Disaster Division at the Home Ministry, quoted local authorities to say that people in some areas of worst-hit districts had got enough aid while others were completely deprived of relief. “So we have instructed the districts to prepare the exit policy, end the inequality in relief distribution and avoid duplication,” he said.

As per the instruction, all the 38 districts will prepare the policy after collecting data on the number of affected people, relief distribution and the food stock available with them. Then the local administration will end relief distribution in areas where it has reached in sufficient amounts and switch to places where people still need help.

Dangal said measures were taken to address complaints that relief reached accessible areas in volumes more than required while the needy in remote areas have not received anything. He said the policy is necessary as relief distribution continues one month after the disaster, in a way to make people dependent on external support.

UCPN (Maoist) leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha, who is in Dolakha, said thousands of people are still deprived of food, shelter and medicines. The government must address this situation and rebuilding health centres and schools, he added.

Meanwhile, a donor community representative told the Post that the scenario was created due to the government’s failure to prioritise the scale of relief distribution and classify quake-affected areas.

Government officials, however, argue that the mismanagement resulted as the private sector, donor community, NGOs, INGOs and other groups mobilised their resources without coordination with state agencies.

Dev Ratna Dhakhwa, secretary general of the Nepal Red Cross Society, said it is not the right time to prepare an exit strategy as people still need suppport. “Distributing relief after a major disaster is a complex job all over the world. Besides, there is no hard and fast rule when relief distribution should end and when it peaks. But avoiding duplication and misuse is a must,” he said, adding that even his organisation has received reports of duplication by both government and private sectors.

Dhakhwa asked the government to classify areas based on the necessity of continued relief and ensure that the needy receive aid until their life returns to normal.

Published: 23-05-2015 09:01

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