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One month on, Nepalis picking up the pieces

In this April 27, 2015 photo, the shadow of an IAF aircraft carrying quake relief material is cast on an area in Kathmandu. Excited reports about the Indian Army’s rescue operation has led to the accusation that Indian television crews were were covering the disaster like a TV serial.

In this April 27, 2015 photo, the shadow of an IAF aircraft carrying quake relief material is cast on an area in Kathmandu. Excited reports about the Indian Army’s rescue operation has led to the accusation that Indian television crews were were covering the disaster like a TV serial.  

One month since the earthquake rattled central and eastern Nepal, the entire country was still reeling from the shock.

Relief material has reached more affected villages — assistance coming from individuals, humanitarian agencies and foreign governments — . India has led in rescue and relief efforts. Figures provided by Nepal Police show that India leads nearly all the materials listed as relief.

However, complaints of misuse of rescue and relief fund has been reported by local media. Aware of such reports and complaints, PM Koirala has frequently threatened to prosecute those found indulging in malpractices.

“Anyone misusing relief fund will be jailed,” the Prime Minister said on Monday, speaking to a delegation of National Information Commission, according to Rastriya Samachar Samiti. “The government is conducting relief in a free and fair manner.”

Finance Minister Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat told The Hindu that “despite shortcomings the government has been able to provide relief to those who need most”.

Material inadequate

It is not just the misuse of relief materials like food and tarpaulins. The relief material was simply not enough, humanitarian agencies warned.

“Every day we are bringing in to the country supplies of tents and tarpaulins which are being sent to the hardest hit areas but it is simply not enough,” said Martin Faller, the head of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Nepal in a statement on Wednesday. “The longer people are forced to live in poor, insanitary conditions among the rubble of their former homes, the greater the risk of disease outbreaks.”

Mr. Faller also warned that cholera was a potential threat, “and we are scaling up our prevention efforts.”

The earthquake and its aftershocks have resulted in the death of 8,659 and left 21,952 injured, according to police. Hundreds of thousands of houses and thousands of schools and health centres have been damaged or completely destroyed.

Staying in open spaces

Whether it is the Tundikhel in the heart of Kathmandu or in Swayambhu or elsewhere in the Kathmandu Valley and in surrounding areas, most open spaces are dotted by tents, tarpaulins and makeshift shelters.

People are still staying there, two weeks after the tremor of May 12, fearing the collapse of houses and buildings.

The situation in rural areas is alarming, with lack of sanitation facilities and risk of water contamination coming true,” Dr. Baburam Marasini, Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control Division told The Hindu.

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Printable version | Jul 1, 2020 11:23:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/nepal-earthquake-one-month-on-nepalis-picking-up-the-pieces/article7245078.ece

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