Nepal government grows wary of foreign aid

Monday, June 1, 2015

International relief organizations are intensifying efforts to distribute aid in Nepal a month after the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake. Nepal’s government, however, seems intent on rejecting the help.

“Immediate support is needed to help affected people get transitional shelters that can withstand the monsoon season, and farmers resume preparations for the rice sowing season that is to start within a few weeks,” said the Asian Development Bank on May 25.

Just two days earlier, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) issued an urgent appeal for $93 million to support 700,000 earthquake victims ahead of the monsoon season. “Every day we are bringing in to the country supplies of tents and tarpaulins that are being sent to the hardest-hit areas but it is simply not enough,” said the IFRC.

Ironically, these appeals came just after — and in spite of — Nepal’s Ministry of Home Affairs’ instructions to local authorities to prepare an “exit policy” for relief distribution.

Rameshwor Dangal, chief of the ministry’s natural disaster division, was reported in the Kathmandu Post as saying relief distribution might make people dependent on outside support.

He also cited duplication in relief distribution as a reason to turn away help. However, he failed to explain why the government is not trying to coordinate the relief work better and reduce overlapping, or why all affected districts have been asked to prepare an exit plan and not just the ones where he thinks there are too many relief workers.

Source: Nikkei Asian Review (link opens in a new window)