4 months after quakes, Nepal fails to spend any of $4bn donor money

2015-09-02 12:12
(Niranjan Shrestha, AP)

(Niranjan Shrestha, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kathmandu - Two months after foreign countries and international agencies pledged $4.1bn to help Nepal recover from its worst natural disaster; the government has yet to make arrangements to receive the money and has spent nothing on reconstruction.

The United Nations estimates almost three million survivors of twin earthquakes in April and May, around 10% of the Himalayan nation's population need shelter, food and basic medical care, many in mountainous, hard-to-reach areas.

Govind Raj Pokharel, chief executive officer of the newly created National Reconstruction Authority, said the government was unlikely to start spending the money until October at the earliest because of delays in approving plans and concerns about starting building work in the monsoon season.

"The government's response has been slow. I accept that," said Pokharel.

Nepal has been criticised for its chaotic response to the quakes that killed almost 9 000 people. The country failed to adequately prepare even though experts had predicted an earthquake was likely. And then the government struggled to cope with relief.

Four months later, many partially damaged buildings in Kathmandu are still standing and rubble is strewn across public parks. Tens of thousands of people are living in plastic tents, preyed upon by flies and mosquitoes, with muddy paths and no drains.


Maili Pariyar, aged 50, knitting a purse to sell outside her tent, said she only received food and tent materials from aid agencies. She has not been given anything by the government.

"We have lost everything. We are desperate," she said. "How much longer do we have to wait for help?"

Pokharel said the government had failed to spend any money because ministers had still not signed off on rebuilding and aid distribution plans.

He said the government made an error by attempting to pass a contentious constitution that will create a new political system and divide the country into new regions, a decision that has led to deadly clashes. The government argues the overhaul will help reconstruction in the long run by creating greater stability.

"We would have liked it if they concentrated on the reconstruction first," Pokharel said. "That would have been better."

Jamie McGoldrick, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Nepal, said the government had been sluggish.

"The government needs to get going," he said. "The next big challenge is to ensure that people living in tents are prepared for the winter."

After a two-month wait, Pokharel was appointed to head the reconstruction authority two weeks ago. He is now based in a government office that oversees printing because the earthquake damaged other buildings.

"We have lost time and now we need to catch up," he said.

Read more on:    nepal  |  nepal earthquake

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.