Friendly nations stand by Nepal for recovery
Jun 25, 2015-
A stronger, confident Nepal will rise from the debris
At the outset, let me offer, on behalf of the people and Government of India, deepest condolences for the loss of human lives and for the massive devastation caused by the tragic earthquake on 25 April, and its major aftershock on 12 May. I salute the resilience of the people of Nepal and reassure you of India’s full support.
The terrible disaster and continuing aftershocks have not diminished the indomitable spirit of the Nepalese people. They are calm and dignified in their tragedy. I see a quiet confidence and a steely determination as they seek to rebuild their lives and their communities. Every challenge is an opportunity. Out of adversity comes strength. Without doubt, from the debris of destruction, a stronger, united and more confident Nepal will rise.
In India, there has been an overwhelming outpouring of sympathy, support and solidarity with Nepal in its moment of tragedy. Our response was swift, spontaneous and substantive. Institutions and people across India, including from deep South and far West, offered their help.
Our rescue teams arrived in Nepal within six hours of the earthquake. We have since worked closely with the Government of Nepal in the rescue, relief and early recovery phase. Operation Maitri was our largest ever disaster assistance effort abroad, valued at nearly four billion Indian Rupees. But what is important is not that this support was larger than other foreign countries; what matters is the strong feeling of empathy and the instantaneous, instinctive and heart-felt response from Indians for their Nepali brothers and sisters.
The PDNA report estimates huge reconstruction needs of US $ 6.7 billion. Mobilisation of resources of this magnitude is a challenging task. But Nepal is not alone. It has the good wishes and support of many friends and donors. As challenging as the funding would be the spending. Efficient and transparent utilisation of funds, to achieve the PDNA goals, will not be easy. We welcome the Government of Nepal’s decision to set up such an empowered extraordinary mechanism. We stand ready to depute our professionals to share their expertise and experience with it.
And we are both susceptible to natural disasters. The 1934 earthquake had devastated wide swathes of Nepal and Bihar. The recent Sikkim earthquake of 2011 had caused damage across communities in both Nepal and Sikkim. Flash floods in our common rivers wreak havoc in communities in both countries. Therefore we need to closely coordinate our disaster response, and help each other in the wake of such calamities.
It is in this background and in keeping with our very special relationship that I am happy to announce Government of India’s pledge for Nepal’s post-earthquake reconstruction of Nepali Rupees 10,000 crores, equivalent to one billion US dollars, one fourth of it as grant. This pledge is over and above our existing bilateral developmental assistance of another one billion US dollars over the next five years, forty percent of which would be grant. This takes our total assistance to Nepal over the next five years to two billion US dollars. In the weeks to follow, we will work closely with Government of Nepal in identifying specific reconstruction projects. We are confident that Nepal will utilise the pledges made by the international community in an efficient, effective, transparent and sustainable manner.
Japan will carry out as much support as possible
Two months have passed since a major earthquake struck Nepal. I once again offer my heartfelt condolences to those who perished in the earthquake and extend my sympathies to all those affected. Thirty percent of the victims were said to be children, the bearers of Nepal’s future. As a father of two children myself, I find this utterly heartbreaking. I sincerely hope that children will be able to attend school again and people return to their daily lives as soon as possible.
Four years ago, Japan also experienced an unprecedented major earthquake, and 20,000 precious lives were lost. On that occasion Japan received 5,000 blankets from the people of Nepal.
The movement to support Nepal has spread all over Japan. I have heard that among all Nepalese embassies across the world, the embassy in Tokyo has received the largest amount of donations. A lot of people in Hamamatsu city, my constituency, are also eager to be of help for the people of Nepal. Today, I have brought to Nepal such warm feelings of the Japanese people.
Immediately after the earthquake struck Nepal, Japan sent experts from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to provide cooperation for formulating a medium and long-term reconstruction master plan and earthquake-resistant building standards. Furthermore, based on the Build Back Better (BBB) concept that one of the outcomes of the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Japan has been providing suggestion and advice on matters such as achieving improved earthquake resistance with small reinforcement that utilise local materials, and designing and building schools and public facilities that can be used as evacuation sites during times of disaster. In order to put this concept into practice on-site and across the nation, and taking into the PDNA, Japan intends to provide assistance totalling 260 million USD, mainly in the following three areas, as support that is needed for the time being.
The first area is “schools.” 7,000 schools were completely or significantly damaged nationwide by this earthquake. Japan will work closely with the ADB in rebuilding schools that are earthquake resistant in order to bring Nepal’s children back to school with smiles on their faces, as well as to protect children from earthquakes that might occur in the future.
The second area is “housing.” In the PDNA, house damage is said to account for half the total damage. Japan will work closely with the World Bank for the reconstruction of houses that meet earthquake-resistant building standards and offer best value for money possible. Jica is currently giving a Demo-Construction on Seismic Strengthened BBB Model House within the hotel premises, so please drop by during the coffee break.
The third area is “community infrastructure.” Japan is extending cooperation by using earthquake-proof reinforcements to strengthen public facilities such as local government buildings and hospitals, infrastructure such as roads and bridges so that as many lives as possible can be saved in case of a future disaster.
Including collaboration with the Unesco, Japan will provide as much cooperation as possible on restoring cultural heritages as well.
Japan will carry out as much support as possible. Japan is ready to co-organise the second conference as well.
Japan, as a true friend of Nepal, will strongly support Nepal’s endeavour as it challenges to climb these steep mountain trails. Japan is determined to help bear Nepal’s heavy burden alongside it, right up to the summit.
We will help Nepalis get back on their feet
It is an honour to share the following message from Secretary of State John Kerry with you today. The past two months have been among the most challenging in Nepal’s history. I will never forget the searing images of pain and devastation in the aftermath of the April 25 earthquake and the May 12 aftershock. I know that even today millions of Nepalis are unable to return to their homes and are struggling to plant their crops and send their kids to school. I will also never forget the courage and heroism the Nepali people showed from the moment the earthquake struck as citizens risked their lives to rescue neighbours from the rubble. Using social media, young Nepalis organised as never before to deliver aid to remote communities. We honour and
remember all those who died during the earthquakes, as well as the brave United States Marines and Nepalese military personnel who died providing emergency relief.
I am immensely proud of the US response to the earthquake, which represents the best of the American people. Within hours of the earthquake we began to deploy hundreds of search and rescue personnel, emergency responders, and military relief personnel. We contributed $62 million in humanitarian assistance during the initial emergency response. The US response saved lives and relieved suffering.
Nepal’s many friends in the United States have shown their generosity since the moment the earthquake struck: From bake sales to swim meets, community groups nationwide raised funds for Nepal earthquake relief. US businesses have pledged over $20 million in cash and in-kind contributions in support of relief and recovery efforts in Nepal. US NGOs have provided assistance worth more than $150 million. And in a “virtuous circle,” resettled Bhutanese refugees – refugees Nepal generously hosted for more than two decades before they immigrated to the United States – came together as a community to raise funds for relief programmes in Nepal.
Today, I am pleased to announce a pledge that increases the total amount of US emergency relief and early recovery assistance to $130 million. This is only the beginning of our contribution and we, with the support of our Congress, will continue to work with Nepal to support its long-term earthquake recovery needs across multiple years. From relief to recovery to reconstruction, the US Agency for International Development will continue to provide assistance to address critical development needs. Working in close collaboration with the Government of Nepal, our development partners, and the international community, we will show Nepali citizens how to rebuild seismically-stable houses in affected areas. Where children are learning outside in makeshift tents, we will help build temporary learning centres.
We will help Nepalis get back on their feet and rebuild livelihoods by strengthening agricultural systems, the lifeblood of 75 percent of Nepalis who rely on agriculture for livelihoods and food. We will help protect Nepal’s most vulnerable, including those susceptible to human trafficking. And we will lay the foundation for a more resilient Nepal by helping build institutions that can respond effectively to future disasters.
The United States has stood by Nepal for decades through development achievements and democratic transitions. And even though I am unable to attend this conference in person, I want to make it clear: the American people will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Nepal through this challenge as well.
Published: 26-06-2015 07:43